Stitched up: baby Tayla still critical in ICU after pacemaker removed

2010-07-29 00:00

TAYLA Grace Geddes had her chest stitched closed yesterday afternoon after doctors were forced to move her, open-chested, from theatre to the intensive care unit on Monday when her blood pressure dropped rapidly after open-heart surgery.

The four-month-old baby was taken from Pietermaritzburg Medi-Clinic, where she was born, to Sunninghill Hospital in in Johannesburg so specialists could repair the three holes in her heart and construct her missing septum.

Her father, Peter Hamberger, yesterday confirmed she had been taken off her pacemaker.

“Her heart is functioning fully and pumping blood as it should. She is still on the ventilator though,” he said.

Tayla is still in a critical condition in ICU where she is kept sedated; when she woke up yesterday morning, doctors put her under again to save her from pain.

The open-heart surgery revealed she was born without a thymus gland, which produces the T-cells that are an integral part of a child’s immune system.

The surgery was desperately needed by the small girl, who has constantly been on oxygen. She will be closely monitored for the next week, and then the doctors will plot a further course of treatment.

“For now we are worrying about her heart, and once that is sorted the doctors will decide what else needs to be done,” Hamberger said.

A feeding tube will be inserted into Tayla’s stomach to give her strained oesophagus relief from the nasal-gastric tube she has lived with for most of her life.

Tayla’s mother, Heather Geddes, was at her daughter’s side during her extensive stay at Medi-Clinic. Now, Geddes finds it difficult to leave her in hospital and only see her only in visiting hours.

“It’s difficult to see her lying there and not being able to do anything,” she said.

“We are going to wait this week out and pray for her full recovery,” she said.

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