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Team of Doctors Perform successful paediatric heart surgeries, thanks to an anonymous donor

By The Angel Network

In a remarkable display of expertise and dedication, a team of medical professionals, a generous donor and The Angel Network, were able to successfully perform three life-saving paediatric cardiac surgeries, offering hope to families in need. Dr Darshan Reddy, a distinguished cardiothoracic surgeon specializing in paediatric cardio surgery, led the team of three experts in performing the life-saving operations on the young patients.

When The Angel Network received an exciting message that an anonymous donor was wanting to donate R1million to saving the lives of children in South Africa, they contacted The Children’s Cardiac Foundation. The purpose of the organisation is to save lives and improve the health of children with congenital heart disease in Africa. 

In South Africa, there are over 4500 children currently waiting for heart surgery. About 500 of these children are on a waiting list at Albert Luthuli Hospital. 

The surgery, which took place at Lenmed Ethekweni Hospital, is a testament to the exceptional skill and commitment of the medical professionals involved. Dr Reddy, who is one of only five specialists in the country in the field of paediatric cardio surgery, played a pivotal role in the success of the operation. He is also a respected advisor on The Children’s Cardiac Foundation of Africa, working alongside esteemed colleagues such as cardiothoracic surgeon Professor Robin Kinsley and paediatric cardiologist Dr Himal Dama.

Four-year-old Olwethu Ntshangase was born with an atrial septal defect - a hole in his heart. His mother, Nthando, moved with him from Hluhluwe to Durban so that he could receive treatment from Albert Luthuli Hospital.

“Olwethu was always very active but I noticed his heart would beat very fast, he wasn’t gaining weight and he would sweat a lot. As a mother, I knew something was wrong but people always told me that he was fine because he was always playing,” she said.

He was diagnosed at the beginning of November but Nthando never thought that the day would come this quickly for her son to receive surgery. “I was so happy when I was told that my boy is going to have the operation. I had mixed emotions at first but after the doctors explained everything to me, I felt at ease. I am so thankful to the doctors, the hospitals and the Angel Network for making this possible,” said Nthando.

The second patient, five year old Wandile Memela, was brought to Lenmed Ethekwini Hospital and Heart Centre in the nick of time as his condition worsened after being admitted. He was born with a Tetralogy of Fallot, a condition where there is low oxygen flow and too little blood being pumped into the lungs. His mom, Hloniphile, was told at several clinic visits that the shortness of breath her son was experiencing was asthma but she too said that her motherly instinct had told her otherwise.

“We only got a proper diagnosis at Albert Luthuli in November. Wandile was getting sick and tired often. He was so tired that he couldn’t even play like a normal child would at his age. I am so grateful to all involved in making his surgery a success. I can’t wait to go home with a healthy child,” she said. Her sentiments were echoed by Dr Reddy, who emphasized the significance of the achievement in providing new hope for families facing similar challenges.

Dr Reddy shed light on the challenges within the public healthcare system, underscoring the importance of continued support and resources for paediatric cardiac care. The successful surgeries serve as a poignant reminder of the vital role that specialized medical professionals, Foundations (and their donors) and awareness, play in transforming the lives of young patients and their families, giving them a future they never imagined possible.

For more information about The Children’s Cardiac Foundation of Africa, visit


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