Login Form

Open Heart Review – Hope in the Dimmest of Places

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Open Heart,” from HBO Pictures and Producer Abigail Disney, follows eight children diagnosed with Rheumatic Heart Disease as they travel from remote Rwanda to the Sudan to receive high risk life saving medical treatment.

“Open Heart,” an Oscar nominated short from director Kief Davidson and Urban Landscapes Film, in association with Whitewater Films and Believe Media documentary, weaves the tale of two realities, that of the Rwanda’s 13million children diagnosed with Rheumatic Heart Disease, the limited medical treatment available and the miracle of life in the desert.

“Open Heart,” begins in Kigali, Rwanda, with Dr.  Emmanuel Rusingiza, a Pediatric Cardiologist at the University Teaching Hospital of Kigali, explaining his is one of two physicians and the only pediatric cardiologist working the public hospital and travels to the state-of-the-art Salam Center in the Sudan where we meet Dr. Gino Strada, the head surgeon of “Emergency” as the cardio unit is named.

A century ago Rheumatic Heart Disease was the number one killer of children in the United States; today, the infant/child mortality rate for an American child is at 0%. In Rwanda, approximately 13million children are presently affected and the infant/child mortality rate increases daily.

New cases are diagnosed annually and without Penicillin or any other antibiotics to the treat Strep Throat, which is the primary cause, the only hope for the children is heart surgery which is costly and unavailable in any hospital in the country.

There is only one hospital on the African continent that performs open heart surgeries and that is the Salam Center in the Sudan. “Open Heart,” documents eight of the most severe cases who will not survive without surgery and introduces a program that funds surgeries for these children.

We are given a glimpse into the lives of both patient and parent as Dr. Rusingiza explains the children are determined on a case by case basis; those in advanced stages are selected.

He also explains the child will travel alone to the hospital as there is only enough funding to support the children. If the child dies while in the Sudan, the parent is informed at intake, the child will be buried there. The child cannot return to his home country. Parents must agree to these terms in order for their child to receive the high risk medical procedure.

Many of the parents are not even sure where the Sudan is located, as they gather at the Airport, holding their children for what may very well be that last time. The children, range from a three year old to a nineteen year old, will be gone for at least two months, barring any complications, longer if additional medical care is necessary.

Dr. Gino explains throughout the film that Universal Health Care is a right and for children of Rwanda the level of that is an antibiotic if it is available.

Emergency, under Dr. Gino's leadership initially performed 1500 surgeries and as he describes, is now facing financial problems. The Salam Center is funded by Emergency’s private donors 75% and the government of Sudan 25%. Devaluation of Sudanese currency dramatically cut emergency’s budget.

The state of the art medical facility is located in the Sudan, Africa’s largest nation with nine neighboring countries which make it an ideal location to provide lifesaving medical treatment for as many as possible.

“Open Heart” documents the surgeries, with graphic images of a heart bypass, including exposing the enlarged and beating heart. The children all survive their surgeries with one complication. A tearful reunion at the Rwandan airport, six weeks later, for Marie and her father, who kisses the ground as his daughter walk through the gates.

“Open Heart” is a love story of life that blooms in the strangest of places.

“Open Heart” can be seen on HBO. Check your local listings.

 

 

Haute Tease

  • Slimdown Secrets of Food & Fitness Superstars

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Maintaining a healthy diet and exercise regimen can be tough. Those who struggle with weight loss and maintaining healthy lifestyle choices can feel like being trapped in a forever pattern of success, failure, judgment, repeat.

     
  • The Academy to Premiere New Digital Restoration Of 1934 Best Picture "It Happened One Night"

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    LOS ANGELES, CA –The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will present the world premiere of the newly restored 1934 Best Picture winner "It Happened One Night," a digital restoration in 4K by Sony Pictures Entertainment at Colorworks, on Saturday, July 19, at 7:30 p.m. at the Bing Theater on the LACMA campus.  

     
  • Jon Stewart Signs Exclusive Production Deal With HBO

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Former Daily Show host Jon Stewart has landed an exclusive four-year production deal with Time Warner Inc.'s premium cable channel HBO. The cross-platform agreement will see Stewart create short-form digital content that will be featured on HBO Now, HBO Go and other platforms.

     
  • Fandango Teams with Paramount Pictures And Participant Media To Host Exclusive Advance Screening Of “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth To Power”

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Fandango is teaming up with Paramount Pictures and Participant Media to host an exclusive advance screening of "An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power," the much-anticipated follow-up to two-time Academy Award-winning documentary "An Inconvenient Truth," at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles on May 6.  

  • Has the Once Golden BRAVO NETWORK Lost Its Luster?

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Despite an eight-year relationship that somehow managed to achieve monogamy for most of 2010, it appears that my hot and heavy affair with the Bravo Network might finally have run its course. A famous New Englander once said, “Nothing gold can stay,” and I guess deep down I always suspected that this would happen, but that doesn’t relieve the sting, or worse, the disillusionment.

     
  • Alpine High School Active Shooter Story Unfolds Differently; Officer Involved Shooting Wounds One

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    A freshman girl in West Texas committed suicide with a single self-inflicted gunshot this week after wounding a fellow female student at Alpine High School after the directed incident escalated resulting in an officer involved shooting of a fellow first responder.

     
  • Twenty Animated Features Submitted For 2014 Oscar® Race

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    LOS ANGELES, CA – Twenty features have been submitted for consideration in the Animated Feature Film category for the 87th Academy Awards®. Films submitted in the Animated Feature Film category also may qualify for Academy Awards in other categories, including Best Picture, provided they meet the requirements for those categories.