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Those eyes. They shone. They shone with innocence and purity. They shone like rubies, set in marble. “Is that why she was named Ruby,” you wonder. Resting her head shyly in her father’s lap, she gives you a gentle smile. And you wonder, “How could such an innocent child go through the trauma of a heart surgery?” Her father answers for her, “Vishwaas hi sab kuch Hein” (‘Faith is everything.’)

For the last few days Nepal Singh Yadav has been able to breathe easy. He is relieved of the pain and mental torture which have been haunting him for the past four years - agony brought about by the fact that his sweet, ruby-eyed daughter had a hole in the heart.

Fate seems so cruel at times, bringing pain at an age where you would expect only fun and frolic. But faith is wonderful in its ability to endow us with the strength to overcome all the difficulties posed by fate.

The cherubic Ruby

Nepal Singh’s Beautiful Yet Gloomy Family

Nepal Singh Yadav is a farmer hailing from Piprai, a small town tucked away in Guna district in the northern corner of Madhya Pradesh in central India where he and his younger brother cultivate wheat, lentils, and soy beans on their farm. The lands were inherited to which Nepal Singh made modest improvements and his latest acquisition being a tractor, which he bought on loan a few months ago.

He was living a happy and content life, with his wife, his parents and their three little children. Ruby was the eldest, born in 2000 and Sanju and Ajay were the two sweet little boys who completed the family.

As is with many things, it started in a small way. Neither Yadav nor his wife could comprehend why Ruby fell ill so frequently. Not a fortnight passed by without an episode of fever, cough or cold. They used to fuss over her till she got well.



   The district of Guna In Madhya Pradesh

Sometime in 2004, Yadav met with an accident and sustained some injuries to his collar bone. Yadav received treatment at a clinic at Piprai run by one Dr. Vinod Jain. While recovering his health, he left the farming to his younger brother. Inspired by the noble service the doctor was rendering, he started offering his services at the clinic purely on a voluntary basis, assisting the doctor in dispensing medicines to the patients, coming to his clinic. With time Yadav and Dr. Jain developed a good rapport. Yadav felt more and more drawn to the profession, and though not highly educated, he picked up his job of dispensing medicines very well and could confidently rattle off the names of many medicines.

It was here, at Dr. Vinod Jain’s clinic, that Yadav brought his precious daughter, Ruby to find out what was wrong with her and why she fell ill so frequently. One look at her was enough to tell Dr. Jain that she was suffering from a congenital heart defect. Further investigations proved he was right. She was suffering from two disorders: a ventricular septal defect (VSD) and PDA (patent ductus arteriosus).

Understanding Ruby’s Malady

The ventricular septum is the wall between the left and right ventricles (lower chambers) of the heart. A hole in the ventricular septum is called a VSD. Small defects usually close on their own, but those which don’t within two years require surgical closure. Large defects or those causing heart failure require surgical repair with a synthetic patch.

Patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) is the other heart problem which Ruby had. PDA occurs soon after birth in some babies. Before birth, the two major arteries-the aorta and the pulmonary artery - are normally connected by a blood vessel called the ductus arteriosus, which is an essential part of the fetal circulation. After birth, the vessel is naturally supposed to close within a few days. In some babies, however, the ductus arteriosus remains open (patent). This opening allows blood to flow directly from the aorta into the pulmonary artery, which strains the heart and increases the blood pressure in the lung arteries.


Diagnosis Confirmed But No Hope

Dr. Jain directed Yadav to take Ruby to a Sindhi Trust Hospital in Anandpur, 35 kms from Piprai. The doctors there confirmed the heart defect and advised them to get the treatment done at their unit in New Delhi. "The doctors here prescribed some medication for 21 days. They told we should go to Delhi and get her operated as early as possible. And that it would cost me two lakh rupees (US $5000). How could I afford such expenses?" asked Yadav.

Yadav then took her to the Lifeline Express, the Hospital Train, introduced by the Indian Railways that conducts medical camps free of cost. Yadav was accompanied by his neighbour in Piprai, Harbhajan Singh, whose sister too was suffering from a heart ailment. The diagnosis by the mobile medical camp once more confirmed Ruby's condition. The doctors recommended a private hospital in New Delhi. "Can you afford it?" the doctors asked him. It pained Yadav to answer, "No" but not more than the pain he felt when he looked into Ruby's eyes that day.

At one time...Ruby had lost all her shine and hope

They Find Their True Lifeline

Well, God has a plan for all of us. And He did have one for Ruby too. It so happened that Harbhajan Singh was seeking medical attention for his sister who was also a heart patient. In course of time, he heard about Swami's Hospitals and the free service they render. He brought his ailing sister to Bangalore.

In 2006, she was admitted at Sri Sathya Sai Super Speciality Hospital at Whitefield and operated upon for a condition similar to Ruby's. As always, Harbhajan's sister's treatment cost the family no money. Today, she is hale and hearty, living a full life. When Harbhajan Singh told Yadav about the Sri Sathya Sai Super Specialty Hospital, Whitefield the latter couldn't quite believe his ears.

The Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, Whitefield

Very soon, Yadav and Ruby were on a train to Bangalore. After consultation with the doctors at the Institute, Ruby was put on medication and asked to report after six months. Though the previous doctors had prescribed some medication, it was only after following the medicines prescribed by the doctors here that she stopped having her frequent bouts of cough and fever. Except for one or two spells during the 6 month period, Ruby remained healthy.

June 2007 found Ruby and Yadav in the hospital again. This time, Ruby was admitted and the surgery was performed and both the defects in her heart were corrected. As this article was being written, she was in the ward, recuperating from the surgery. It seemed amazing how the little child bore it all, so calmly.

“Ruby’s septal defect was a circle of 3 cm in diameter. Normally, a synthetic patch is sutured at the site to cover the defect. In her case however, we used a piece of her pericardium (double-layered serous membrane that surrounds the heart) itself, which has lesser complications than the synthetic patch. The PDA was about 6 mm dia. This was ligated (tied) to curtail the cross flow of blood. Ruby’s heart is now as perfect as any other child’s of her age,” says Dr. Bharat Dubey, the cardiac surgeon who operated on Ruby. “After the course of medication for three months, she will go on to live a normal life,” he assures.

So concerned Yadav’s family was about Ruby’s health that Yadav felt it best to let the news of her surgery not be broken to them till he and Ruby reach home.


“There is so much love here” – Nepal Singh

Yadav now is all praise for the hospital. "Ye humare liye ek Mandir hein samajiye. Muje yaha koi dikkat nahi hui" (This Hospital is like a Temple to us. I didn't feel any problem whatsoever here). "There is so much love being shared in this place," he says appreciating the caring attitude of the doctors, nurses and all the support staff. "Even if I had paid five lakhs rupees to a private hospital, I wouldn't have received so much for free. We are ever grateful to Swami for this wonderful Gift of Life," he adds shedding tears of gratitude.

So shy is Ruby that she only answers "Theek Hoon" ('I am well') in Hindi in response to queries about how she feels now. As Ruby returns home hale and healthy, even the mention of her father's new tractor brings a sparkle to her eyes as she is so looking forward to a tractor ride with her younger brothers that her father had promised her.

Nepal Singh with his precious gem...
now, grateful, happy and lively

One Thursday, July 19, 2007 Ruby was discharged and she left the hospital, happy and whole. And life goes on at the Hospital. Day in and day out, hundreds of patients, young and old, are treated, are healed and go back whole, ever grateful to the Being who has created this wonderful Temple of Healing.

- Heart2Heart Team

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Vol 5 Issue 08 - AUGUST 2007
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