Financial Assistance



Financial Assistance

Helping Sick Children in Financial Need

Thanks to the efforts of one family, there now exists at the AUB Medical Center a fund to help families whose infants are suffering from heart disease.

The family who set up this fund had a baby who was born with a heart defect. They came to AUBMC’s Children’s Heart Center and met with Dr. Fadi Bitar. Bitar, a pediatric cardiologist and an associate professor of pediatrics, diagnosed the child’s heart problem. The child underwent open-heart surgery and is now enjoying the life of a normal and healthy one-year-old boy.
In one of the most difficult times imaginable to parents-coping with how to save the life of their child-this family saw an opportunity to establish a fund to provide financial assistance to other parents in a similar situation who are less fortunate.

The Brave Heart Fund was established with an initial gift from the family. An additional $45,000 was raised from over 150 individuals who made contributions in support of the child’s father, who ran in last year’s Beirut Marathon, as well as from a family friend who ran in the Dubai Marathon in January of this year. The Brave Heart Fund will be a regular recipient of proceeds from future Beirut Marathon events.
“We consider ourselves so fortunate,” says the child’s mother. “We were able to ensure that our child got the care he needed. Many families do not have the means to pay for such medical care. And we want to work with others in order to help as many children as we can.” The monies that have been raised so far are already being used to help other families pay for the care their children need.

In talking about the case, Dr. Bitar explains that a child’s heart should form completely during the first six weeks of pregnancy, but in some cases the heart fails to form completely or properly. When this happens, the child is born with a congenital heart defect. “With surgical and non-surgical procedures, we are now able to correct most congenital heart defects,” says Bitar. He notes that congenital heart defects are the most common of birth defects and are the leading cause of death during the child’s first year of life.
The Children’s Heart Center is a special unit for treating children with heart disease. With Dr. Mounir Obeid, an associate professor of surgery, and Dr. Bitar as its co-directors, the center offers state-of-the-art diagnostic and therapeutic modalities. These include the non-surgical use of catheters, balloons, and stents to dilate narrowed heart valves or arteries and special umbrella devices to close a hole between the upper and lower chambers of the heart. Many heart defects can only be corrected by surgery.

More than 600 babies are born in Lebanon each year with heart defects. With the proper care, most of these children can be saved. Bitar is grateful that he and his colleagues at the Children’s Heart Center will now be able to heal more of those children.
The Brave Heart Fund is one of the first public-driven patient funds to be established at AUBMC. It will not be the last. Inspired by the success of this initiative, similar funding drives will be undertaken to encourage all of us to help provide care for the children who need it.