'Our little miracle': Baby Marique gets to go home after spending more than 100 days in hospital

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"A real survivor". (Supplied/Netcare Clinton Hospital)
"A real survivor". (Supplied/Netcare Clinton Hospital)

Born preterm on 17 June at 34 weeks Marique Kloppers of Johannesburg has beaten daunting odds. 

The infant has already survived two life-threatening medical conditions including congenital tracheo-oesophageal fistula; an abnormal connection between the trachea (windpipe) and oesophagus (food pipe), and an acute obstructive apnoea; which causes the collapse of the lower airway. 

Having undergone two emergency surgeries and spending more than 100 days in hospital, Marique is now home with her overjoyed parents. 

"There were a number of times when we were so scared that we were going to lose Marique, so I cannot tell you how relieved and grateful we are to have her with us today," says Rev. André Kloppers, Marique's father. 

André now calls his baby girl "a real survivor and our little miracle".

The dad says he is utterly grateful to the medical staff at Netcare Clinton Hospital in Alberton who worked tirelessly to keep Marique alive. 

"That Marique was able to survive is in large part thanks to the extraordinary care she received at the hospital and its neonatal and paediatric intensive care units," André said. 

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'She had stopped breathing' 

"Our paediatric surgeon, Dr Carapinha, undertook a complicated but highly successful tracheo-oesophageal fistula repair," explains Dr Ashley Jeevarathnum, the head of the Paediatric ICU at the hospital, regarding Marique's first surgery. 

Six weeks later the premature newborn was discharged but sadly, after a short period spent at home, Marique took a turn for the worse. 

"Unfortunately, Marique was only home for two weeks when my wife Anré shouted to me that she had stopped breathing," André recalls, adding that "a friend and I did infant CPR on Marique, and we rushed her back to hospital." 

During this time, Marique was diagnosed with an acute life-threatening obstructive apnoea and had to be ventilated. Dr Jeevarathnum says that the apnoea occurred because of the tracheo-oesophageal fistula Marique had been born with.

The infant's previous surgeon, Dr Carapinha, along with ear nose and throat (ENT) surgeon, Dr Tim Capon, elected to insert a tracheostomy, which involves creating an opening in the neck to place a breathing tube into the windpipe. 

Dr Jeevarathnum says this temporary measure allowed Marique to be taken off the ventilator and after a two-month recovery period, she was sent home. 

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Doing exceedingly well

"I will see Marique in a month’s time to ensure that her airways remain unobstructed. She is doing exceedingly well, and her prognosis is excellent. We hope that she will go on to outgrow the condition, otherwise, she may require a follow-up procedure at a later date," notes Dr Jeevarathnum.

Of her parents' opinion that their daughter is a little miracle Dr Jeevarathnum says she can’t help but to agree. 

"I must say that Marique is exceptionally fortunate to have survived. I am inclined to agree with her parents that her survival is something of a miracle and we are all celebrating her recovery". 

Submitted to Parent24 by Netcare Clinton Hospital and edited by Lesley-Anne Johannes.

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