Abu Dhabi: When a couple's two-and-a-half month old son started displaying worrying symptoms medics at a private hospital where he was born incorrectly blamed his condition on poor breast feeding.

One evening little Moien Ouseh cried for an hour. His face turned dark blue and his heart stopped beating. His Iranian parents, Hounaida Eddaimi and Mustafa Ouseh, took him to a paediatric public hospital. He was admitted to the intensive care unit and placed on an artificial breathing machine for two months. It was then discovered he had been born with a hole-in-the heart or Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD). This is a defect between the heart's two lower chambers.

"Doctors told us that Moien needed immediate VSD surgery but they did not have the equipment to operate on him. We were told the only affordable heart centre was located in India, but Moien was in no condition to travel, since he had developed pneumonia and was too ill to be transferred," they said.

The couple finally stumbled on a hospital that performed VSD surgery in Shaikh Khalifa Medical City (SKMC).

"On November 3, 2007 I received a call from SKMC that Moien had been approved to undergo the VSD surgery for free, including six months' free medication. The surgery was 100 per cent successful. I thank Abu Dhabi Government and SKMC. We were truly blessed," said Mustafa.

Mustafa works as a sales executive and Hounaida as a secretary. Their salaries are a little less than Dh8,000.

"At one point nothing was working out for us. Our health insurance company refused to cover the medical costs involved in Moien's surgery, claiming they did not cover medically related birth defects.

However, when the couple met with medical experts from SKMC, they were given hope.

"People should learn about these things, awareness is always important," said the couple.

Dr Norbert Augustin, Chair, Department of Cardiac Sciences, SKMC, said VSD is the most common congenital heart disease.

"Detecting congenital heart diseases is not difficult if a sophisticated echocardiography machine is available in a hospital."

He told Gulf News that with the VSD closure, Moien will have a more or less normal life expectancy.

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