WBZTV.com – Jun 17, 2009
by Malika Marshall, MD
BOSTON (WBZ) – An Iraqi mother is looking at her future with new hope thanks to a Boston hospital and a local foundation that helps patients with life-saving care.
Imagine having a life-threatening condition and not being able to get the treatment you need because of your religion or because you can’t afford it.
But the Ray Tye Medical Aid Foundation has made it possible for a mother of three from Baghdad to get the care she so desperately needed.
Fifty-year-old Nadia Al-Azzawi had a defibrillator implanted in her chest at an Iraqi hospital seven years ago. She had it replaced in 2005, but then it became infected.
Dr. Laurence Epstein of Brigham & Women’s Hospital explains, “She went to the hospital because the hospital was a Shiite and she was a Sunni so they wouldn’t take care of her, so she went for months with this implanted. It burst open and device was hanging out of her chest.”
Nadia finally got someone to remove the device. But they left the infected wire leads in her body. The wire slid into a blood vessel and down into the heart. Her family desperately searched for someone to help Nadia but was told they would have to seek medical care in other countries where it would cost tens of thousands of dollars.
Nadia’s husband, Moaiad Al-Juboori, explained, “We see her in pain, we didn’t know what to do.”
Then the family contacted the Ray Tye Medical Foundation, which helps provide medical care for people who can’t afford it.
It arranged to have surgeons at Brigham and Women’s Hospital remove the infected wire and save Nadia’s life.
Nadia’s husband explains, “We can’t express how grateful after because of what we have seen in Baghdad.”
Dr. Epstein says, “This is really exciting, it’s always rewarding to know we made a difference in someone’s life.”
Eileen Tye of the Ray Tye Medical Aid Foundation says, “After seeing this family, it’s a heart- warming, wonderful experience.”
Nadia is still recovering but is expected to leave the hospital next week if all continues to go well.
Ironically, it turns out that Ray Tye, the man who founded this organization, actually had a similar infection and also had to have his defibrillator replaced at Brigham and Women’s last year.