Cries of joy rang through the hospital halls as two months of tireless efforts and prayers were finally answered.
Baby Ignus is special in more ways than one. Along with stealing the hearts of his family, the newborn was born with a rare defect called congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH). According to a definition by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, this occurs when the diaphragm fails to close during prenatal development, causing a range of organs to find their way into the chest, affecting the growth of the lungs.
Having beaten all the odds, Baby Ignus has also become the first baby in Gauteng with this condition to survive, reports News24.
“The overall chance of survival for Ignus, all things considered, was extremely low, if not non-existent. Not only has he survived, but all indications are that he is physically well and neurologically sound. This is an absolute miracle,” said Dr. Ashley Jeevarathnum, a paediatric pulmonologist practising at Netcare Clinton Hospital in Alberton.
A testament to the resilience of Ignus and his loving parents, who could not bear to leave their little one’s side. To ensure that little Ignus had a chance of survival, the decision to repair the hole in his diaphragm was made.
“Ignus’ lungs and their blood vessels were under severe pressure due to his abdominal organs pushing through the large hole in his diaphragm. During the operation, a special patch of collagen was used to close the hole in his diaphragm, as this creates a biological seal that is as natural as possible for a growing baby,” states Paediatric surgeon, Dr Carapinha.
“Throughout, Ignus’ parents were very much at the centre of the team. They were fully informed of the potential risks involved at each stage, transparently and objectively. To my knowledge, Ignus is the first baby born with CDH in South Africa, who has completed ECMO and subsequently went on to have a successful diaphragmatic hernia repair,” says DR Carapinha.
One of a kind indeed. Nearly 1008 long hours later – six weeks later – and the parents of this little soldier were finally able to take him home.
The happy ending that this little family deserved.