The gift of heart
BACKGROUND: Nine months ago and half a world away, baby Tuvshintur was born in Mongolia with a hole in his heart that left him struggling against low oxygen levels and poor circulation. It was hard for him to do normal baby things, much less to grow up strong.
Three San Antonio organizations have partnered to fix that.
Tuvshintur is the first of eight babies that HeartGift, University Health System and UT Kids will work together to heal and send home to family this year. He and his mother will attend a press conference at University Hospital Tuesday, February 17 to celebrate this partnership.
“HeartGift provides lifesaving surgery to children from developing countries who would die prematurely, often in childhood,” said Thomas Mayes, M.D., professor and chairman of the Department of Pediatrics in the School of Medicine at The University of Texas Health Science Center. “Children in the United States receive this kind of care as a matter of course, and with HeartGift we are able to offer it in a single operation, and give a child, and a family, that life back.”
HeartGift’s purpose is to provide funding, coordination of care, and medical services for children with congenital heart disease (CHD) living in developing countries where specialized medical intervention is scarce or nonexistent.
“We are honored and humbled to partner with such amazing organizations like HeartGift and UT Kids. Helping make the lives of these children diagnosed with heart defects better is extremely important to us,” said Timothy Brierty, chief executive officer at University Hospital. “It’s our commitment to every patient cared for at University Hospital. I’m very proud of our congenital heart medical team for their passion and hard work.”
UT Kids is the pediatric practice of the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, which for eight years has provided the pediatric surgeons who perform these life-saving surgeries. University Health System stepped up in 2014 to provide the facilities and care for HeartGift patients as it solidified its pediatric partnership with UTKids.
“HeartGift gives our community the opportunity to forever change the life of a child who lives in an area where necessary medical care is out of reach,” said Leslie Davis Met, HeartGift executive director. “I am so proud that San Antonio has these amazing partners to bring our patients here and the talented medical team to provide them with the best care possible.”
• Baby Tuvshintur and his mother, Battsetseg Ganbaatar
• Timothy Brierty, CEO, University Hospital
• Adil Husain, M.D., head of pediatric cardiothoracic surgery in the School of Medicine at the UT Health Science Center
• Thomas Mayes, M.D., chairman, Department of Pediatrics, UT Health Science Center
• John H. Calhoon, M.D., chairman, Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, UT Health Science Center
• Charlie Deacon, chairman, HeartGift – San Antonio Chapter
• Leslie Davis Met, executive director, HeartGift – San Antonio Chapter
WHAT: Announcing HeartGift, UT Health Science Center and University Health System partnership and collaboration to provide life-saving surgeries to children with congenital heart disease.
WHEN: Tuesday, Feb. 17 at 10 a.m.
WHERE: University Hospital, 4502 Medical Drive
Media Contacts: Leni Kirkman, Julie Wiley, or Don Finley (210) 358-2335, Pager (203) 203-3300,
Will Sansom, UT Health Science Center (210) 567-2579