Phuket hails Rino’s recovery
RINO Mangon Vogt, a 10-year-old suffering from a rare and congenital heart condition known as Ebstein’s Anomaly, had his successful life-saving operation in Bangkok.
The Phuket Gazette first ran the story on August 17, which was picked up by the ThaiVisa website and this media attention led to the generous donations needed to pay for expensive treatment, including 750,000 baht from a client of a Hong Kong music consultant who requested anonymity.
Rino’s father, well-known musician, songwriter and filmmaker Ritchie Newton, started Rino’s Heart campaign after a Bangkok cardiologist gave the devastating diagnosis in June.
The same cardiologist, Dr Poomiporn Katanyuwong, was one of the 11 medical staff who assisted in the surgery last Sunday at the Bangkok Heart Hospital.
“Throughout the whole ordeal Rino has been so brave. He knew that this operation was his only hope and when they wheeled him away at 1:30pm he smiled and waved at his mother and I, it was at this point that I cried,” said Ritchie.
Some six hours later Dr Poomiporn announced that the procedure had gone well.
The intervention involved repairing the faulty triscupid valve and adding a ring. While this was going on, the heart was stopped by lowering its temperature to 4ºC and Rino was put on a life-support system.
Once it was all over, the doctors commented that his heart was so enlarged that he may only have lived another three to four months without treatment.
“I saw Rino at 8:30pm and it was very hard for a father to watch his son with so many tubes sticking out of him. The next morning he was awake and complaining of pain and of being hungry,” said Ritchie.
“A German VOX TV camera crew had been following his progress for a show about expats called ‘Goodbye Germany’. When Rino complained about the lights I had to ask them to leave,” he added.
Rino is expected to be released from hospital by early December, after which father and son will remain another week in the Sheraton Grande Bangkok for convalescence and checkups before returning home to Koh Samui.
“People have been so kind. The hotel has given us free board and the breakfast is paid by the same anonymous contributor who paid 750,000 baht towards the operation. Even the hospital administrators reduced the cost of the surgery.
“To all those who helped me to save Rino I give my heartfelt thanks,” said Ritchie.
This has been a life-changing experience for Ritchie and Rino and they will now try to help other children with their charity, Powerhearts, Ritchie said.
“We will be ambassadors and, with our first-hand experience, will be able to bring hope to other sufferers. My business partner Martin Goetz and I have heard of a boy with Muscular Dystrophy whose father cannot afford the 15,000 euros for treatment.
“There is also a girl in Isarn, who needs the same treatment as Rino. We will continue to help saving lives,” he said.
More information about Rino can be found at rinosheart.com.
— Marc Mulloy
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