UTTAR PRADESH: A poor Indian couple have made a desperate appeal for financial help to save the life of their son who was born with his heart outside his body.

Priyanka Pal, 24, was rushed to the labour room of the government-run Sultanpur Hospital in Uttar Pradesh state late last Wednesday where she gave birth to a baby boy. But the baby was born with the incredibly rare condition ectopia cordis, which left his heart protruding from his chest, and now needs expensive emergency surgery to prevent him from dying within days.–MOL

The incredibly rare condition affects only eight in every one million births, with 90 per cent of these  babies either stillborn or dying within the first three days. The fact this baby - who has not yet been named - has survived into his sixth day means he has already beaten odds of less than one in a million.

But if he is to survive much longer, the baby boy needs to have emergency surgery at a private hospital, as none of the state-run facilities in the area are able to carry out the complex operation.

The family are desperately poor, however, living on father Nirbhay Pal’s income of less than £3 a day and there is no way they can fund the private healthcare without help.

Mr Pal, 30, who works as a mason at construction sites, said staff at Sultanpur Hospital told him his son would not live long with his condition, and needs urgent treatment at a more sophisticated medical facility. ‘The doctors said we should go to a private hospital and get surgery done,’ Mr Pal said.

‘But I am a poor man. We can barely afford two square meals a day. I don’t know what to do. We are hoping that the government will help us,’ he added.

‘I have put everything at stake to save my child. We are feeling so helpless. We don’t know where to go,’ Mr Pal went on to say. The baby has now been shifted from Sultanpur Hospital to a facility in the neighbouring city of Dehradun.

It is not yet known how much the operation will cost, and the child is likely to have to move hospitals again if the treatment is going to be carried out. Mr and Mrs Pal married four years ago, with the baby boy their first child. MOL