Kingston doctor spends spare time repairing children's heart defects
Flying across the globe to treat children with heart defects certainly makes one Kingston doctor a hero in the eyes of his patients, but for Alan Magee it is just his chance to give something back.
Dr Magee, 54, of Latchmere Road, is a paediatric cardiologist at Royal Brompton Hospital, but in his spare time he is also a medical volunteer for children’s heart charity Chain of Hope.
The father-of-three is part of a specialist team who fly to Jamaica, Egypt, Ethiopia and Mozambique several times a year to give children with life-threatening heart diseases the corrective surgery they desperately need.
He said: “It is enjoyable treating the patients and the parents are very grateful.
“It usually goes well, but it is a challenge too, but I like what I do and I would happily do it anywhere.”
Dr Magee has volunteered with Chain of Hope for nine years and performs interventional catheter procedures, where, instead of children undergoing risky heart surgery, a device to fix holes in the heart is inserted via a catheter through the groin.
He also helps the charity in its mission to teach and train doctors at cardiac units abroad so they can help when he, and other volunteer doctors, are gone.
Dr Magee said: “These countries often don’t have the money or funding to pay for this kind of treatment and [congenital heart disease) causes a lot of death in these children around the world.
“These places may have some people that can diagnose the children but they don’t have the surgeons.”
For Dr Magee helping his chosen charity improve the lives of youngsters abroad also extends beyond the pre-arranged missions, the next of which is to Ethiopia in October, as he also helps with charity fundraising.
It costs £4,000 for each child to have corrective heart defect surgery and the charity aims to help thousands of youngsters each year so the sporty doctor takes part in events like sponsored bike rides to help build up funds.
Along with two neighbours Dr Magee will cycle from London to Versailles in three days starting on September in the hope that each rider will raise enough money for at least one surgery.
To sponsor Dr Magee visit justgiving.com/londonversailles.
For more details about Chain of Hope visit chainofhope.org.