A dedicated life

10.10.2013, 17:56 Print version
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Before his birth, Sashko was diagnosed with gastroschisis. Gastroschisis is a severe birth defect when the intestine and other abdominal organs protrude through a hole in the abdominal wall and spill out into the amniotic fluid around the fetus. This condition is a medical emergency. Some 10-15 years ago, mortality rate of gastroschisis in Ukraine was very high, up to 60-80%, in some regions up to 100%.

Sashko’s mother, a young woman from Ternopil region, was referred to the Institute of Pediatrics Obstetrics and Gynecology in Kiev. Here, for the first time in Ukraine, the surgeons introduced the immediate gastroschisis repair within 10-15 minutes after delivery. “We call our technique “the first minutes’ surgery”, explains Dr. Oleksiy Slepov, Head of the Department of Correction of Prenatal Disorders. “While the caesarean section is still performed, the surgeon room and surgical team are ready for the operation. The newborn was immediately moved from the labor ward to the surgery room. By providing instant treatment, we prevent a lot of risks that can appear during the time period between the birth and surgery”. The operation, says Dr. Slepov, saves 9 out of 10 lives and increased the survival rate to 90% , same as the European and world standards for this defect. 

In the last weeks of her gestation Sashko’s mother was closely monitored. For July 18, 2013, two very complex surgeries were planned for mother and baby respectively. Lubov Slepova, Head of the Children’s Reanimation Department, was on the surgical team. Equipped with the newest medical technology donated by Children’s Hospital of the Future Foundation, the department is one of the best in our country.

The morning came with sad news. Bohdan Zenovij Malaniak, Cedars-Sinai Center Honorary Vice-President for Academic and Research Affairs, passed away. A Ukrainian by descent, Bohdan Malaniak was committed to support Ukraine’s medical institutions. Among his achievements are the launch of scholarship programs, international cooperation projects for medical professionals from Ukraine and the US, assistance of the “Wheels for Ukraine” program to transfer wheelchairs to our county and bring mobility to the disabled.

Last year, Bohdan Malaniak gave Lubov Slepova a present for her department– a pneumatic sterile plastic bag (preformed silo) to treat emergency conditions. This technology is of utmost importance in gastroschisis repair, as the surgeons place the infant’s organs inside it. “We immediately decided to dedicate the surgery in memory of Bohdan Zenoviy Malaniak”, recalls Lubov Slepova. “There is, I believe, a symbolic meaning to the fact that a life that has just begun was saved thanks to a gift from a person who has just entered into eternal peace”.

Sashko withstood the operation well and made a quick recovery. Today he is back at home with his mother, growing up and getting to know the world. Perhaps someday he will be a children’s surgeon and will save new born lives, just like the physicians saved his own. And hopefully he will learn about Bohdan Zenowiy Malanyak, to whom his life was dedicated.

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