Section: Children's Hospital of New Jersey (NBI) News

NJ Cardiologists At Children’s Hospital of New Jersey Give Children a Second Chance at Life Here and Abroad


Newark Beth Israel Medical Center’s Children’s Hospital
Partners with Gift of Life

Joerene and his mother and Dr. Sunil Malhotra, MD

NEWARK, N.J. – June 20, 2013 - Four-year old Joerene always believed he was superman, and for the journey he just travelled from the Philippines and back and with cardiac surgery, the description is appropriate. He has proven to be a real hero for fighting such an illness at an incredibly young age.

Newark Beth Israel Medical Center (NBIMC) and Children’s Hospital of New Jersey (CHoNJ) recently welcomed Joerene and his family to the medical center. Little Joerene is suffering from Tetraology of Fallot (defects in the heart) in which there is a large hole in the ventricular wall causing not enough blood to flow through the heart.

Thanks to Sunil Malhotra, MD and the physicians at CHoNJ’s collaboration with the Rotary Club “Gift of Life Foundation,” Joerene received the needed surgery to save him from the heart defect and prevent symptoms such as fatigue, blue skin tone and shortness of breath.

“Newark Beth Israel Medical Center and Children’s Hospital of New Jersey is proud to collaborate with “Gift of Life Foundation” to help save lives not only in the United States but internationally,” said John A. Brennan, MD, MPH, President and Chief Executive Officer of Newark Beth Israel Medical Center and Children’s Hospital of New Jersey and Executive Vice President of Barnabas Health.

“Gift of Life” is a program begun in 1974 by the Long Island district of Rotary International. Since then many other Rotary Districts have become involved and now some 10,000 children from more than 36 countries have received cardiovascular lifesaving operations in the United States.

One month after surgery, 4-year old Joerene left New Jersey and headed home to the Philippines in better health, following surgery performed by Sunil Malhotra, MD, Director of Pediatric and Adult Congenital Heart Surgery and Co-Director of the Children’s Heart Center at CHoNJ and Assistant Professor in the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery at NYU School of Medicine.

Dr. Malhotra said, “It is very fulfilling to know that you can make a difference in the life of a child facing chronic illness.” It is particularly rewarding to partner with an organization like ‘Gift of Life’ to provide this opportunity to children from outside the U.S. who would not ordinarily have access to such care.”

According to Dr. Malhotra, one out of 100 children is born with heart defects. Over half of those babies don’t need surgery, while 15 to 20 percent of them need an operation early in life. The Pediatric Cardiac Surgery Program has also partnered with Gift of Life to provide surgery for children from Asia, Africa and Belize. The Heart Center at Children’s Hospital of New Jersey is a leader in pediatric cardiac treatment from minimally invasive treatments to electrophysiology, and cardiac surgery.

The Children’s Hospital Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery program is the only program in New Jersey that provides the complete range of medical and surgical treatments for the most complex cardiac abnormalities. From fetal echocardiography to life-long care for adults with congenital heart disease, families turn to our experienced team of cardiac specialists for the finest care close to home. CHoNJ is home to a 19 bed ICU, advanced and low dose imaging, neonatal, pediatric and adult congenital cardiac surgery, NICU and emergency transport team, Pediatric Cardiac Anesthesiologists and New Jersey’s only neonatal and pediatric ECMO program. The hospital has satellite offices in Edison and Bayonne.

Joerene his mother Dr. Malhotra, Rowan Walsh, MD and Mary Berry LeBoeuf

Joerene and his mother were hosted by a family in Montclair, according to Mary Berry LeBoeuf, APN and Coordinator of Pediatric and Congenital Heart Surgery at CHoNJ. Ms. LeBoeuf is pictured. She is a Paul Harris Fellow of the Rotary International Gift of Life Program and has been involved with the Gift of Life since the early 1980’s. Also photographed is Rowan Walsh, MD, Director of Echocardiography at CHoNJ.

Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, (NBIMC), a 673-bed regional care teaching hospital, provides comprehensive health care to its local communities and well beyond. NBIMC has more than 800 physicians and 3,200 employees with over 300,000 outpatient visits and 25,000 admissions annually. NBIMC is fifth in the nation in the number of heart transplants with better than expected outcomes, has the only lung transplant program in New Jersey, and combined with Saint Barnabas Medical Center, both Barnabas Health affiliates, is third in the nation for kidney transplants, by volume. NBIMC received three of the top awards for 2012 by the New Jersey Hospital Association and was one of five hospitals nationwide to receive the coveted 2012 NOVA Award from the American Hospital Association. To learn more, visit us on line at

About ChoNJ
Children's Hospital of New Jersey, located at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center and part of the Saint Barnabas Health Care System, is the state's premier hospital caring for children, with specialized services to treat ill and injured children from newborn to adolescent years and has the most comprehensive pediatric cardiac care program in the region as well as preventive programs that promote wellness in the community. For a referral to a pediatrician or pediatric specialist, please call 1-888-724-7123.

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