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A baby’s life was saved before birth after doctors performed the first minimally invasive “pinhole”surgery on a pregnant woman in South Africa.
Joel Hayden Ford was born in Durban on Tuesday morning. While still in the womb he was diagnosed with hydrothorax, a condition causing his heart and lungs to be compressed by a build-up of fluid in his chest.
The hydrothorax was detected when Joel was 17 weeks. Doctors monitored the condition until he was 31 weeks, when they decided to perform surgery to save his life.
According to the doctors involved in his delivery, he was “strong and healthy” and entered the world weighing 3.32kg.
“We could not have asked for anything better. Joel is breathing on his own, although it was a trying time for Tarryn (the mother),” said proud father Hayden Ford.
“They are both sleeping now and he looks like nothing happened.
“Thanks to the outstanding doctors and the latest in medical technology and techniques, we are able to celebrate the birth of our third child.
“We are very grateful to everyone who was involved in caring for Tarryn and our miracle baby.”
Dr Ismail Bhorat, the foetal specialist responsible for the procedure at the Netcare Parklands Hospital, said the surgery was done last month and that it was the first of its kind performed in the country.
Bhorat said the condition occured in about one in 15 000 babies.
The build-up of fluid placed pressure on the baby’s chest cavity and could cause breathing problems and prevent the heart from pumping properly.
“The condition inhibits the growth of the baby’s lungs and often causes cardiac failure, which leads to intrauterine demise (death in the womb),” Bhorat said.
“No fewer than 90 percent of babies who develop the condition, die before birth.
“The medical team therefore had no hesitation in recommending the surgery to the Ford family.”