Their Royal Highnesses Crown Prince Alexander and Crown Princess Katherine visited Dejana Krajacic (16) at Mitera hospital in Athens, where she is successfully recuperating after heart surgery. This operation was the second one by Professor Afksendiyos Kalangos, who once again operated on Dejana.
To recall, in 2007 Professor Kalangos saved the life of five years old Dejana Krajacic, who was diagnosed with endocarditis because her heart had an infection that attacked the aorta and destroyed the left heart valve. At that time, doctors predicted a maximum of seven days of life. The only solution was an emergency surgical intervention by which the destroyed blood vessel would be replaced by a part of the heart tissue that can be obtained only from donors from the tissue bank in Brussels. Unfortunately, Serbia did not have the right to use the tissue and organs from that bank because it is not part of the European Union.
After the appeal by HRH Crown Princess Katherine, Professor Kalangos, director of cardiac surgery at the University Clinic in Geneva, found the life-saving tissue, a so-called homographer, and bought it himself through the “Heart for All” Foundation. As the time was running out relentlessly, Crown Princess Katherine organized a plane from Poland, where Professor Kalangos was operating on children, which together with the precious tissue, arrived in Belgrade on 19 January 2007, on Epiphany Day. At the University Children’s Clinic in Tirsova, everything was already ready for the surgery, in which Professor Kalangos was assisted by Dr. Slobodan Ilic, Head of the Department of Cardiosurgery, and with the help of Professor Ida Jovanovic, head of the Pediatric department in Tirsova, the operation lasted for five hours, and two hours later, Dejana’s heart started to work normally. Two weeks later, the girl was released from the hospital.
“Seeing Dejana it was very moving for my husband and me. I have known Dejana from when she was a little girl, and now she is a beautiful and bright young lady. This surgery was necessary for the clinical cycle to be closed, the tissue was restored, and Dejana continued to live as a normal healthy young person. The feeling that you saved a life, and you are not a doctor, is amazing! I remember in 2007 when the minutes were deciding the life of this little girl. At such moments there is no waiting and fear, only a quick response is necessary. I remember visiting Dejana on Christmas day 2007 when I was delivering Christmas gifts for the children when I met Dejana. I will never forget Dejana’s sad mother who was crying and very worried, at which time I promised I would do my best to save Dejana’s life. We were fortunate to know this wonderful man, Professor Kalangos who has saved many more lives in Serbia thanks to the cooperation and relationship with Professor Ida Jovanovic. I managed to quickly organize a plane and the surgery. That now seems a lot, but human life is what is greatest and most valuable. If we do not have health and love, we have nothing. You cannot be a happy person if you do not make others happy. This is just one of the successful examples of the work of my humanitarian Foundation, and the greatest success for me is the smile and happiness of our Dejana and her parents that we visited today in Athens. I appeal to all people to value life more, to help others, and all efforts and dedication will always be returned through humaneness and good deeds”, said HRH Crown Princess Katherine.
Dejana Krajacic was born in Apatin, and her mother is also a doctor. After recovering, in March 2007, Dejana with her visited Crown Prince Alexander and Crown Princess Katherine at the Royal Palace in Belgrade, and Their Royal Highnesses are expecting her visit again after her recovery and return from Athens.