8-yr-old Mercy needs corrective surgery against Tetralogy of Fallot, parents cry out for help

Six years after her baby girl, Mercy Ankar, was diagnosed with Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF), 32-year-old Alice Ankar, is stuck in a dilemma on how to save her baby’s life due to financial constraints.

TOF is a heart condition that makes it hard to get enough oxygen to your body because of four abnormalities in your heart’s structure.

Ms Mercy who was diagnosed with this condition when she was about two years old is about eight years now and has yet to get the surgery done. 

Mrs Ankar who was a foodstuffs seller and mother of three including young Mercy, has lost her source of livelihood due to this condition which requires her to always be with her daughter either at the hospital or at home.

Ankar explained that “Mercy’s sickness is a result of a birth defect we discovered it when she was about two years and the cardiologist said that her hole is too wide and she must undergo heart surgery. As a result of this issue, my income could not match the expenses because she is placed permanently on drugs so right now I don’t have any source of income again.”

Her husband, John Ankar, a 52-year-old driver by profession has also had it though since this diagnosis. 

According to him, it was first observed that Mercy had a problem with the heart between the age of one and two when she had an issue with the hand but they were more focused on treating the hand. 

He said they got linked with Dr Alabi since a nurse who is a family friend brought them there for compounding drugs for their daughter. 

“When we gave birth to her, she had a problem with her right hand so we took her to the defence medical centre in Abacha Barracks. The Dr there then started telling us that this baby has a problem with the heart so they now referred us to the National Hospital to take care of the hand. We later came across a corper doctor serving with Federal Medical Centre Jabi when we went for this medical outreach in our church. So when he saw the girl, he told us to bring the girl to Federal Medical Centre. I think that was where he was serving then. That was when they now told us that this is her problem. Then she was around one or two years. Since then they said she needs surgery but we said we don’t have the money so she has been permanently on drugs since then to manage the condition.

Checks revealed that Tetralogy of Fallot is rare. One out of about 2,500 babies born in the U.S. each year has tetralogy of Fallot. It is, however, one of the more common congenital (since birth) heart disorders.

In Nigeria, a study in 2016 revealed that TOF is prevalent among Nigerian children with Cyanosis as the commonest presenting feature and indication for evaluation. 

A consultant, Kayode Alabi, who is the head of the Paediatrics department at Garki Hospital Abuja, explained her condition noting the need to get the surgery done urgently for Ms Mercy to avoid more complications as she was already experiencing one. 

“…as the child is growing, if nothing is done about it, it can affect the child, and if care is not taken it can kill the child. 

He explained that Ms Mercy has already started having complications from the defects, This complication known as secondary polycythemia is responsible for the severe headache that the child presented with.

“Mercy is an 8-year-old female who presented in the company of both parents on account of severe headache with bluish discolouration of the limbs and the tongue.

The parents noted that the symptoms have been recurrent over the last 7 years.

They said when they first noticed the symptoms, it was presented to the hospital where several investigations were carried out in order to determine the cause of the illness.

Mr Alabi noted that since the diagnosis was made, the parents have been counselled for surgical repair of the defect, but this has been very difficult to do due to severe financial constraints. 

He also revealed that the surgery cost N8 million and the parents have not been able to raise any money as they struggle to keep up with her routine drugs. 

While crying for help, Mrs Ankar said she had to open up to the consultant to help then get to the Media to seek financial support. 

“we have been looking for ways to source money for her surgery. We attend garki hospital so i pleaded with doctor Alabi to help us get to the Media.”

The consultant, who is currently seeing Ms Nercg said he has sought help within his circle of friends and colleagues but nothing has come out of it hence the need to reach the media. 

“One of my patients has a hole in the heart. We have been trying to see how we can help her to have surgery, but it’s been very difficult due to financial reasons. She came today and then asked me if I knew anyone who could help her to go to the media” Mr Alabi narrated. 

Details of Appeal Fund:

Account name: ANKAR atim john

Bank: Jaiz bank

Account Name: 

Account Number :0010934915