PMB babies awaiting heart surgery stay with families until they are stronger

2010-07-06 00:00

THE two babies awaiting open heart surgery in Johannesburg will remain with their families in Pietermaritzburg until they are strong enough to undergo the procedures.

Both Tayla Grace Geddes (three months old) and Unathi Msimang (one week old) were born at Medi-Clinic with heart complications.

While Unathi was born with one hole in her tiny heart, Tayla was born with three holes and a missing septum.

Unathi was airlifted to Sunninghill Hospital in Johannesburg last week when the complications became apparent.

She has since returned home to Edendale with her parents, who confirmed the operation could not be conducted on the newborn.

“She is fine at the moment,” said Mthandeni Ndlovu, Unathi’s father.

“They did not do the operation as they need to wait until she is at least six months old to perform the surgery.

“We will need to go back to Johannesburg for check-ups, but at the moment she is back home with us,” he said.

Ndlovu spoke for Unathi’s mother and himself when he said they are relieved to have some clarity on their daughter’s condition.

“At least now we understand the situation, and know what to expect,” he said.

Meanwhile, doctors are waiting for Tayla to reach at least 3,5 kilograms before they attempt to fix the holes in her heart and reconstruct her missing septum.

It took two months for the small girl to gain 900 grams.

Although she gained some weight last week, a rotavirus has caused her to dip back down to 3,3 kilograms.

“The paediatrician is not too concerned, but it will delay the process,” a family member said.

“We were hoping she would be operated on this weekend, but she needs to be stable before then,” she added.

Doctors have already lowered the weight restriction for open heart surgery on babies from five kilograms to 3,5 kilograms in order to accommodate Tayla and treat her as soon as possible.

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