By Sandra Birungi
Emma Kakungulu who is barely a year old has four holes in his heart despite having been given birth to without any complication. At 2 months, he gave a scare to his parents when he started crying despite being a rather peaceful child. Later on, it was discovered that he had 4 holes to his heart.
Born to David and Prisscah Kakungulu, Emma was admitted to Mulago hospital due to his condition. At just 6 months old, he suffered a heart attack which made him turn blue. He is always on oxygen to prevent him from slipping away as the monitor next to him constantly indicates danger. Despite this, his parents stand by their child and they still care for him. His mother stays next to his bed day and night holding on to the oxygen mask lest it slips out-of-place.
To stop the blood from draining his whole entire body by dropping to his feet, Emma is always in a squatting position. this too, in addition to his heart condition worries the father who thinks his legs may also get some sort of injury.
The heart attacks can occur any time yet it take him about 6 hours for him to recover from one. With no energy, Emma cannot cry as he is continuously injected by antibiotics.
During her pregnancy for Emma, Prisscah was declared anemic but that did not stop a normal delivery for Emma on December 25, 2011. However, during delivery, Emma’s heart was too low and Prisscah had a headache and when her water had broken earlier on, it was dirty. Upon breathing the first breath, Emma vomited a dirty fluid while some of it came out through the nose.
No alarms were raised as he was given antibiotics and they were discharged the next day.
His mother recollects that Emma was a very peaceful baby boy who never gave them sleepless nights like his elder brother, Elijah did, at least for the first and second months. When he developed a fever, Prisscah rushed him to the nearby clinic but as she waited for the doctors to do tests, Emma’s eyes turned white, his muscles went limp and all the little energy he had in him was lost. He collapsed in her arms.
A good Samaritan, who was also at the clinic had a car and rushed them to Kadic Hospital and was immediately put on oxygen. Tests were carried out but all turned up negative and the child’s condition did not improve.
As luck would have it, a team of cardiologists from Apollo Hospitals, India were on a tour around the different hospitals in Uganda and they happened to go to Kadic hospital and found Emma. Using the hospital’s cardio equipment, it was found out that Emma had four holes in his heart and the doctors had not detected it before because none of them could operate the machine.
In addition to the four holes, a valve was found blocked and the doctors recommended open heart surgery. He was transferred to the Uganda Heart Institute in Mulago. Till the surgery is done, little Emma needs to be on oxygen.
Being in hospital has deprived Elijah of a brother and a mother whom he misses so much. Prisscah had to take care of her son and decided to resign from her teaching job at a kindergarten.
To help pay the hospital bills, Emma’s father, David begs for money. To perform the surgery, they need $17,000 (sh40, 800, 000). Although he was supposed to be operated upon not later than May 2012, the parents have not been able to get the required money because any money they get they spend on hospital bills and medicines to keep Emma alive.
To help save the life of Emma, send money to Account No. 3620900045 in Centenary Rural Development Bank or call 0782455461.