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Hospital heals nearly 5K hearts

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Parents bring their children to Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospital for treatment in June. Hong Menea

Hospital heals nearly 5K hearts

The Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospital III – also known as Jayavarman VII Children’s Hospital – in Siem Reap province has successfully operated on 4,669 children with heart ailments over the last 10 years since its Heart Corner programme began.

According to the hospital’s Facebook post marking the 10th anniversary, its heart surgery centre called “Heart Corner Jayavarman VII” first opened on November 21, 2011.

As an example of its successes, Kantha Bopha pointed to a 15-year-old girl who had a rare congenital heart condition called an Ebstein anomaly and she had a pacemaker permanently implanted by the Heart Corner team on November 16, 2021.

“This is case number 4,669 for heart surgeries. Thank you and congratulations to the heart specialist team who are so dedicated to their work at Jayavarman VII Hospital,” the hospital said, adding that all treatments at Kantha Bopha for any conditions are always free for all children without discrimination.

Professor Yay Chantana, director of the Jayavarman VII hospital, told The Post that this was a great achievement for Cambodian doctors to successfully perform this heart surgery. Every year, a group of foreign doctors from Switzerland and France come to teach and assist in surgeries, but due to Covid-19 the foreign missions were suspended.

“In the last two years from 2019 to 2021 there were no foreign missions and our Cambodian doctors performed all of the surgeries successfully by themselves and this is a great achievement for Cambodian medicine,” he said.

He said there are typically two to three patients requiring heart surgery per day at the hospital.

“There are many children with congenital heart problems who cannot normally afford surgery because it’s very expensive and needs specialised equipment. Dr Beat Richner began doing heart surgery for free in 2011,” he said.

According to Chantana, surgeries for children with mild heart problems can be performed in Phnom Penh, but for severe cases the patient is sent to Jayavarman VII hospital in Siem Reap Province.

“For serious and complicated cases the surgeries are done in Siem Reap. Some patients’ hearts are damaged from birth with as many as five complications that all need separate surgeries. All surgeries are free of charge,” he said.

Chantana thanked the hospital’s benefactors both inside and outside of the country and also the Cambodian government for continuing to support Kantha Bopha Hospital.

According to the hospital’s website, the five Kantha Bopha children’s hospital branches provide free medical examinations and emergency services for tens of thousands of children and spend approximately $45 million to $50 million per year doing so.

The money is donated to the hospital’s affiliated charitable foundations, including the Swiss Kantha Bopha foundation, Dr Beat Richner Kantha Bopha foundation and Kantha Bopha foundation of Cambodia. The Cambodian government also donates a portion of the money from each ticket sold to attractions like Angkor Wat to the hospitals as well.


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