Plakao’s Journey

September 27, 2021

Plakao was born with a congenital heart defect — a ventricular septal defect. At one month old, he underwent surgery to close his septal wall. The surgery was successful, but, unfortunately, he requires further surgeries for his other heart defects.

The mother of a young patient in the Rak Jai Thai (Healing Hearts) program recently shared her story with us. She started by recounting the tragic fate of her first child who was born with a birth defect known as gastroschisis, which is when a baby is born with its intestines outside the body because it has no abdominal wall. And although doctor’s performed a successful surgery, allowing for the baby to go home to her family, shortly after, the baby sadly passed away. Pained by her experience, she was very hesitant to become pregnant again, but eventually, after a few years, she decided to have another baby; however, it was devastating news once again, as her second child, Baby Plakao (which translates to “grouper fish”), was born with a congenital heart defect — he had a ventricular septal defect, along with many other heart issues requiring immediate medical intervention.

Fortunately though, Baby Plakao was able to get help from the Cardiac Children Foundation of Thailand, under the Royal Patronage of H.R.H. Princess Galayani Vadhana Krom Luang Naradhiwas Rajanagarinda, together with the Rak Jai Thai program of the Bumrungrad Hospital Foundation. The two together arranged for Plakao’s heart surgery, and at only 1 month old, his septal wall was closed. The surgery took place on the 26th of August 2014 — and even though the surgery was considered a success, Plakao still required additional heart surgeries to correct the many other heart issues he was facing.

A few years later, Plakao, once again, was able to undergo surgery. Two heart surgeries were performed on the 28th of August and on the 1st of September of 2018. Each surgery proved to be a success as Plakao’s health seemed to improve with each procedure. Still though, having suffered from multiple heart defects, his symptoms eventually returned, which resulted in him needing to undergo further surgical treatments.

With the next surgery, the doctor explained to Plakao’s mother that it would be high-risk. This left her incredibly anxious and fearful. So much so that she wouldn’t allow her now almost 7-year-old son to undergo the surgery. She expressed to the doctor that she wasn’t emotionally ready to deal with it. So the doctor decided to alter the treatment and offer a pacemaker as an interim solution until Plakao and his mother are ready for the surgery, which he received on June 11th 2021. The pacemaker proved to be effective and Plakao was feeling much better than before. He was able to go home and play like a normal kid. On the 16th of August 2021 he went in for his doctor’s visit to check up on his pacemaker, the doctor was satisfied with Plakao’s progress and stated that he looked healthy, and even gained 2 kilograms.

Still, the journey does not end there. Plakao is still waiting for his next big surgery. The Bumrungrad Hospital Foundation and Bumrungrad International Hospital ensure that they will continue to stand by and support Plakao as long as he needs.

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