27 April 2009
Like a real ballerina, a little girl is stretching near the nurses' station in a hospital corridor. She is surrounded by other children, who try to copy her complicated ballet moves. She manages to jump and to bend over, in spite of the medical tube that peeks out from under her short t-shirt. This is Oksana Guseva from the city of Nizhny Tagil — perhaps the next rising star of the Bolshoi Theatre Ballet Company. Her tube is an abdonimal catheter for peritoneal dialysis, a procedure that helps people with kidney failure survive until a transplant becomes available. A special solution is routinely injected into Oksana's small body through this catheter, helping rid her of toxins — the work her kidneys are no longer able to preform.
Oksana arrived to the emergency room straight from her kindergarten's graduation ceremony, as both of her kidneys failed at the same time. Her mother Natalia didn't see her for several days after this — the access to the ER is for medical staff only. Doctors advised Natalia to brace for the worst. But after countless tears were shed, they agreed to hand the swollen, nearly-uncounscious child over to her mother, who rushed Oksana to Ekaterinburg. After the first hemodialysis treatment the little girl regained consciousness. At the same time she was diagnozed with a kidney condition that must have been present since her birth. However, it has not been mentioned in any of her medical records.
A patient on dialysis can normally wait for a translant for years. But Oksana has not been doing well. Her condition is deteriorating, her blood pressure is destablized, and her doctors called for an urgent transplant procedure. The local ministry of health provided her with a place in the kidney transplant section of the Russian National Research Centre of Surgery, and Natalia was assured that no additional costs will be incurred.
Only upon her arrival in Moscow did Natalia find out that all medical tests are paid out-of-pocket, each at over 1 000 roubles; that food for mothers at the hospital cafeteria is not covered by the ministry; and that she will have to purchase a number of necessary drugs as well. However, these expenses paled in comparison to the modern medicine that has been used for transplants at this hospital for the last 3 years. These medicines are called ATG-Fresenius and Кэмпас. They are used to prevent organ graft rejection in transplant recipients, while allowing to avoid most of the toxic and hormonal drugs usually prescribed after such surgeries. At the time this method is considered to be experimental, and despite its excellent results, it is not covered by the government.
Oksana's mother is currently unemployed, and her father was never in the picture. 485 000 roubles are needed to save this child's life. Please help cover Oksana's transplant medications!