“If you can cure, cure; if you cannot cure, calm; if you cannot calm, comfort.”
While this famous phrase of Italian physician Augusto Murry addresses to health personnel, it could also be addressed to every human being who is in contact with sick or suffering people. And that is what today many volunteers, associations, and foundations make, one of which devoted to children with heart problems, such as the “Menudos Corazones” Foundation.
In Spain, about 4,000 children are born every year with a congenital heart disease. “Menudos Corazones” is a national and non-profit or ganization, eager to help and grow, with a primary objective: improving the quality of life of people with a congenital heart disease. Everything to accompany people throughout their different life stages. From childhood to adulthood, the febrile phase of adolescence, or even for parents who expectto have a baby with a “sick heart.”
It does it from different areas: it informs and gives advice to those affected by congenital heart disease and their families, as they are chronic processes. It offers free accommodation for family members who must travel from their place of residence to Madrid (in case their children must be operated or for revisions). It provides psychological care anywhere in Spain. It organizes summer camps with health personnel specially trained for these children. It gives seminars on congenital heart disease to raise awareness of the issue of heart disease in children; and it accompanies families during the mourning process, if necessary.
Visibility of the congenital heart disease
“Menudos Corazones” also attends these children in front of public authorities to claim and defend their rights. It also demands the establishment of policy guidelines and management to promote research, the creation of a new medical specialty and adult units for those who have been operated when they were children. It also fights for the implementation of healthcare resources of socioeconomic support.
As paediatricians or cardiologists that treat these children, we have the obligation to know partnerships like this to inform families about the support opportunities offered to them in these tough times. Our mission is not just to describe what s/he has and what we are going to do her/him in the hospital.
Because, as the 1964 Hippocratic oath expresses (much more used in English-speaking areas): “I will remember that medicine is not only science but also art, and human warmth, compassion, and understanding may be more valuable than the surgeon’s knife or the chemist’s drug.”
Pediatric specialist in pediatric cardiology and fetal echocardiography
Advanced Instructor CPR Pediatric and neonatal