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Byts Polina, 7 months old

Date of birth: 20 August 2010.
Ukraine, Kyiv.

Diagnosis: portal hypertension. Polina needs a surgery as soon as possible. The cost is 41,325 euros (58,000 dollars).
24 March 2011

From the letter of Polina’s mom:

I don’t know why the doctor didn’t notice anything strange when Polina was born, they gave her 7-8 Apgar score. The first time I saw her I knew something was wrong. She was trying to catch a breath all the time instead of breathing easily. It turned out that she had an aspirating pneumonia. Next day she started bleeding inside her lungs. We were told to buy medicine that cost 30,000 rubles (1,000 dollars) per one ampule. We asked all of our friends for help, just to save our daughter. I work as a teacher, my husband is a biophysicist. We did have some savings for our daughter, we were supposed to buy a stroller, a crib... We spent it all for that one medicine.

Polina spent two months hooked to a lung ventilator. I could only see her one hour a day, on the weekends they didn’t let me in at all. After the discharge Polina kept coughing, and we decided to go to Germany for a consult. We came there on a tourist visa, with barely any money. It turned out that our little girl has cysts in both lungs, three in the right one, and one large cyst in the left one. They grew there because the doctors put lung ventilator wrong. These cysts could explode any moment. The German doctor was surprised how she survived with those cysts that long. He said we can’t go back home without removing the cysts. When we heard how much that surgery would cost, we were terrified. We had to come up with 29,500 euros for each lung. We never had that kind of money and never would be able to get it. German charity funds helped us and paid for both surgeries.

Now Polina is recovering after the second surgery, she is still on medication. She can’t eat or drink, only through a tube. During the examination in Tubingen clinic they found another big problem — portal hypertension. They asked us whether doctors in Ukraine put an umbilical catheter, we said yes. They told us that doctors don’t do it anymore, and definitely it wasn’t supposed to stay there for more than three weeks! While Palina was bleeding doctors back home didn’t give her blood thinners, so she also got thrombosis.

Portal vein surgeries are done in many european countries. But they cost so much, that I can’t even imagine. German funds told us they wouldn’t be able to help anymore, they have many other children that need their help. Then they told me to write to you.

This surgery is very complicated, we can never find enough money for it. Polina is such a great child! She already has two teeth, I spend a lot of time with her. She can already turn on her belly and hold her head up. She holds a toy in her hands, but not for long. If not for that third surgery we’d be developing just as other normal kids her age. I can’t even tell you what is going on in my mind, what we’ve been through and how much we need to live normal lives again — 41,325 euros (58,000 dollars).

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