Baby urgently needs aid for heart surgery

MALAYSIA - The joy of having their second child, a girl, was shattered for Tan Kok Siong and his wife, Goh Chen Fen, upon learning that she was born with a heart defect.

Now three and a half months old, the parents have appealed for RM50,000 (S$19,961) in financial help because the baby, Tan Shi Han, needs to undergo corrective heart surgery.

Tan suffers from atrioventricular septal defect, causing a hole in her heart. She depends on a ventilator to breathe. Without the surgery, her condition will worsen.

The operation has been scheduled on Friday morning at Gleneagles Hospital here.

Kok Siong, 32, works as a shop assistant earning RM2,200 monthly while Goh, 27, is a sales promoter earning RM1,350 a month.

Goh said their salaries were not enough to bear the cost of the baby's treatment.

"Every month, we allocate about RM500 for special milk. This, coupled with other household expenses and monthly rental is too much for us to handle," she told New Straits Times yesterday.

Goh said that doctors had explained the baby's condition during the last stages of pregnancy.

"A week after she was born, she showed signs such as blue lips and fever. After being admitted to intensive care unit, the doctors said her lungs had been infected. I cried upon learning about her condition. We were advised to take the baby to Gleneagles."

The couple have another child, aged 5 years, who is in kindergarten. They live in Klang, with Goh's parents and her six siblings.

Those who wish to help may send their cheques made payable to The New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd with Tan Shi Han's name written on the reverse side and addressed to: The Cashier, Finance Department/Charity Unit NSTP, The New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd, Balai Berita, 31 Jalan Riong, 59100 Kuala Lumpur.