Health workers save a four-month-old baby

February 24, 2023

Medical workers of the Okryu Children’s Hospital succeeded in operating on a 120-odd-day-old baby for compound vitium cordis.

It was in September last year when they came to know about Jon San Jong, youngest girl of the 531st triplets born at the Pyongyang Maternity Hospital.

The less-than-two-month-old baby was in a critical condition at that time, recalled Ri Chol Jin, head of the cardiovascular surgical department.

She weighed only 1.2kg at the time of birth, belonging to an LBW infant category.

She suffered from severe pulmonary hypertension due to ventricular and atrial septal defects and patent ductus arteriosus. Still worse, her left lung did not appear in the screen image.

As she failed to oxygenate her blood, her face was dark blue and she kept the spark of her life with the help of a respirator.

“We had never seen such a serious case among thousands of other cases with heart deformity. That’s why we hesitated to decide on operation,” said Ri.

According to him, nearly 8 per 1 000 babies across the world are born with a malformed heart and medical charges for it are too expensive, so most families in some countries give up their new-born babies when they are diagnosed with congenital heart diseases.

However, health workers of the two Korean hospitals decided to improve her health through cooperative efforts.

At their first joint consultation, they agreed that the Pyongyang Maternity Hospital would make her gain weight heavy enough to undergo an operation as early as possible and the Okryu Children’s Hospital would turn all possibilities to account to confirm a suitable operation scheme. 

Since then, the two hospitals, with a road between them, waged an intensive campaign to save the life of the baby girl.

While medical workers of baby department No. 3 of the maternity hospital were keeping their close eyes on the ever-changing vital signs of the patient to keep her alive, those of the Ri’s department of the children’s hospital conducted scores of simulated operations to choose the most suitable plan.

On November 21, or two days after San Jong was transferred to the children’s hospital, the some four-month-old baby underwent an operation.

The surgical procedure lasted nearly four hours with director Jo In Su and department head Ri Chol Jin in attendance and it was successful.

After she was transferred to an ICU, the medical workers kept working at full strain.

Nurses kept vigil at her bedside and took maternal care of her.

One day, Jong Kyong Jin, doctor in charge of her, raised a shout of joy during an examination. “I could hear a sound from her left chest, similar to respiratory sound we had never heard from her,” recalled Jong.

Repeated examinations made health workers draw a conclusion that her left lung which had been pressed down by the deformed heart before came to take shape as the heart shrank to a normal size.

Her condition remarkably improved day by day with life indices and vital reaction was brought to normal.

Her parents Jon Jin and Han Son Ha saw their youngest daughter San Jong stretching her body with raised hands, with tears of joy in their eyes.

Jon San Jong, after being brought to normal condition, left the hospital amid a warm send-off of medical workers on February 3 this year.

Her mother Han Son Ha made an entry in the visitors’ book before leaving the hospital: “Since entering the Pyongyang Maternity Hospital after being diagnosed with triplets in Wonsan of Kangwon Province, I was provided with special medical services and highly nutritious meals according to a special nutrition norm for prolific mothers. Nearly 30 medical workers helped me to do easy delivery and more than 10 doctors and nurses took care of my triplets. The state presented me and my girls with gold rings and my husband with a silver knife.

“My youngest daughter San Jong could be saved from critical condition and be reborn under the free medical services at the Okryu Children’s Hospital built by the respected Comrade Kim Jong Un. I will surely bring up my three girls well to devote themselves to this benevolent system.”



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