Victory and Prevail at the Dame Irene Okwuosa Memorial Hospital in Oraifite, Nigeria
Seven-year-old Victory Ohiemi and four-year-old Prevail Adeyemi are best friends who have many things in common. They are both from Abuja, Nigeria, have infectious smiles, love to play with their siblings, enjoy drawing and coloring, and as of October 2023, they were both in desperate need of open-heart surgery. Victory was diagnosed with Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF), a rare condition caused by a combination of four heart defects present at birth and typically corrected just after birth in the United States. Prevail was diagnosed with a ventricular septal defect (VSD), a heart defect due to an abnormal connection between the lower chambers of the heart. Their chance to receive surgery in Nigeria is 0.00006 percent if they can afford the procedure, and unfortunately neither family could afford the expense.
It was their good fortune that in October 2023, VOOM Foundation’s volunteer pediatric medical team was hosting a cost-free open-heart surgery mission at the Dame Irene Okwuosa Memorial Hospital in Oraifite, Nigeria. There were six children coming from Abuja’s Galwage Teaching Hospital, looking for solutions to their disease. The families were notified by the hospital to come and be evaluated for consideration. Victory, Prevail and their mom’s packed their bags and began the long journey to Oraifite, hoping for the opportunity to receive surgery.
It was evident Victory and Prevail were bonded through their struggles. The two met prior to the mission, and their families also became very close, as the parents united while searching for answers. With only a handful of options for pediatric open-heart surgery in Nigeria, coupled by the high cost, solutions seemed like a distant wish rather than a viable solution. Luckily, Prevail’s mother, Helen, notified all the families of the partnership between VOOM Foundation and the Dame Irene Okwuosa Memorial Hospital and the upcoming October 2023, pediatric mission. The families’ panic turned into a sense of relief just knowing there was someone coming, and for the first time they felt they had a chance.
Upon the VOOM team’s arrival in October, more than 100 desperate and anxious families of sick children showed up at the Dame Irene Okwuosa Memorial Hospital hoping and praying for that chance. Both Victory and Prevail were evaluated by the VOOM cardiologist and selected into the program. Both children were scheduled to receive surgery on the first surgical day and spent their pre-operative day coloring and playing with each other and visiting their new friends from the VOOM Foundation mission team.
The two friends looked forward to spending several days together in the intensive care unit following surgery, being nursed back to health side-by-side in what would be a great scenario for the playmates to travel this path of wellness together.
Prevail’s surgery went well, and he was up and moving within the first 12 hours and on the road to a speedy recovery. Unfortunately, Victory’s path was a bit slower, as she suffered post-operative complications, including bleeding that required multiple blood products, emergent re-intubation, and a return trip to the operating room to control bleeding. She spent several days on the ventilator and became one of VOOM’S sickest children of the mission.
As Victory slowly progressed, Prevail was up the next day walking the halls and beginning to go up and down the stairwell as if he never had surgery. He was rapidly healing and gaining strength, and within the next couple of days, he was moved out of the ICU and to the step-down unit. Victory was still in the ICU and on ventilator, but each day Prevail made several trips downstairs to loyally visit his best friend despite her temporary inability to communicate.
Rapidly recovering, Prevail was discharged six days after surgery, but he refused to go home without Victory by his side. Meanwhile Victory’s progress was slow, as she spent many days in the ICU. When she was finally off the ventilator, she had to work on reconditioning her lungs and stayed on oxygen for seven days. Each day she looked forward to her many daily visits from her friend. Prevail’s visits always put a smile on her face and gave her a break from the work she had to put in to strengthen her lungs and regain her strength. Prevail not only made multiple daily visits, but also did an occasional check on her heart with his new stethoscope, given to him by the VOOM Foundation medical staff. The two friends continued to appreciate each other’s company daily as they played with toys, shared books and colorings, watched movies together and shared food until Victory was finally strong enough for discharge. It was then that the two friends and their families gathered their belongings and made the nearly 10-hour drive back to Abuja together, Victory and Prevail hand-in-hand with new mended little hearts.
Victory and Prevail Christmas 2024
ABOUT VOOM FOUNDATION
VOOM Foundation is a private international medical humanitarian organization made up of volunteer doctors, nurses, health workers and many other support professionals who contribute to the mission of the VOOM Foundation.
CONTACT VOOM FOUNDATION
1602 Rock Prairie Rd, Suite 130A
College Station, TX. 77845
Phone : 979-229-3532
Email : email@example.com