Nicaraguan baby celebrates first Christmas after getting second chance at life

CAYMAN ISLANDS (January 3, 2018) – A baby from Nicaragua who was treated at Health City Cayman Islands celebrated his first Christmas as a normal, healthy child this year. Jeremias, who is now two-years-old, got a second chance at life early last year when he underwent a complex surgery to place his heart inside his chest cavity, having been born with it in his abdomen due to a rare congenital abnormality.

Dr. Binoy Chattuparambil, Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgeon of Health City Cayman Islands, explained that Jeremias had a condition called Pentalogy of Cantrell, an extremely rare and potentially fatal congenital disorder that exists in between 5.5 and 7.9 per million newborns. With only 200 cases reported worldwide, he confirmed that such cases are unheard of by many doctors.

“I’ve seen it only once before, when I was in India and I assisted in the case,” said Dr. Binoy, as he is known to patients and colleagues.

However, restoring then 10-month-old Jeremias’ heart to its correct position in his thoracic cavity, was the first time that Dr. Binoy directed a surgical team in this specific procedure, although he predicted that it would be a success.

“The child’s heart was just under the skin,” explained Dr. Binoy. “Any trauma … actually, even if pressed hard enough, could have killed the baby. So this was a very rare anomaly.”

At first, Jeremias’ parents Addylson Alberto Ruiz and Marlen Adelina Lopez had little hope of life for their baby. However, with the help of Have-A-Heart Cayman Islands, Bless Back Worldwide and Health City Cayman Islands, they received a miracle. After a six-hour surgery led by Dr. Binoy and his team, everything went according to plan and ended successfully.

The surgical challenges for the six-hour operation were numerous. “We removed the outpouching of the heart and repositioned the heart into the normal location with space constraints and reconstruction of the defects of the pericardium, diaphragm, chest and abdominal wall,” Dr. Binoy explained.

The procedure involved many specialists, including plastic surgeon Dr. Javier Mendoza, a pediatric cardiologist, anesthesiologists, intensive care team, physiotherapists and a radiologist, who carefully charted a plan for Jeremias’ surgery and post-operative management.

This holiday season, Jeremias and his family enjoyed their first Christmas together after his life-saving surgery.

After several months since his surgery in March 2017, Jeremias is growing, eating well, and playing with all his friends like any other normal child. He can now crawl, walk and run without his parents having to worry about him falling on his stomach and potentially damaging his heart

Dr. Binoy recently traveled to Nicaragua and visited Jeremias and his family to share their happiness during the Christmas season.

“This gives me all the happiness of the world, being here in Nicaragua during the holidays and being able to share their family’s happiness. It gives us, particularly me as a surgeon and my team, great happiness,” said Dr. Binoy.