Cyprus Mail

Baby Zoe undergoes initial heart surgery

By Bejay Browne

A 14-DAY-OLD baby girl who was transported to Israel on Friday has undergone a life saving procedure paid for by the ministry of health.

The baby’s Indian father, 31-year-old John Dhull, spoke to the Cyprus Mail from the hospital, where he is anxiously waiting for news of her progress. She is being treated at the Schneider Children’s Medical Centre in Haifa.

According to her parents, baby Zoe underwent a cardiac catheterisation procedure on Sunday. This is where a catheter is inserted into a chamber or vessel of the heart. Doctors are closely monitoring her to see if she will need a further operation which will involve open heart surgery.

“I arrived at the hospital early this morning and I’m still waiting to see Zoe; we are praying that she will be alright. She had an operation yesterday and the doctors are waiting to see if it has worked,” her father said on Monday:

The baby’s mother, Virginia Taguinay, 32, from the Philippines, has remained in Cyprus as she is unable to travel as she is still recovering from a caesarean; her visa has also expired.

“I spoke to the doctors on the phone today (Monday) and they told me that Zoe may need a further operation which will involve open heart surgery. This is a much more difficult operation which has an 85 per cent chance of success,” she said:

“They said Zoe would take a long time to recover and that she would need a further operation in six months’ time. We are praying very hard that she will be fine and won’t need to undergo such a big operation; she is so young.”

The first time father, whose visa recently run out, arrived in Israel late on Sunday evening after being granted a one month re-entry visa to Cyprus by the immigration authorities at the last minute on Friday, but not in time to board the flight with his baby.

He remains positive about his daughter’s health saying: “The doctors have said that her situation is pretty good at the moment.”

Zoe’s distraught first-time parents had no private medical insurance and were unable to obtain a state medical card, which would have covered the baby’s medical expenses, as their visas had expired. They were given less than two weeks to raise the thousands needed to pay for a life-saving operation until the ministry of health said it would cover the costs of the treatment.

The operation was performed by a specialist team in Israel. It is not possible to carry out the operation in Cyprus as a specialist unit is needed.

Zoe was born at Paphos general hospital on June 25. Her parents had no idea their baby had any health issues until two days after she was born.

They were informed that she had severe breathing complications caused by a heart defect.

The baby was then rushed by ambulance to the Makarios hospital in Nicosia.



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