By Bejay Browne
A 16-DAY-OLD baby girl who was taken to Israel last Friday to undergo a life saving procedure paid for by the health ministry is doing well, according to her mother.
Virginia Taguinay, 32, from the Philippines, remained in Cyprus as she is unable to travel because she is recovering from a caesarean section and her visa has expired.
The baby’s Indian father, 31-year-old John Dhull, whose visa also recently ran 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.
Zoe’s mother told the Cyprus Mail on Wednesday: “I have just spoken to my husband and the doctors have said that they will close Zoe’s chest today and closely observe her progress. They are pleased with her recovery so far and we are all praying that she won’t have to have a further operation which will involve open heart surgery.”
According to her parents, Zoe underwent a cardiac catheterisation procedure on Sunday.
“The doctors had to open her chest as they wanted to observe her after her operation,” said her mother.
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. 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.
Zoe is now being treated at the Schneider Children’s Medical Centre in Haifa. The operation was performed by a specialist team.
The baby’s mother added: “John has been given accommodation at the hospital which means that he can spend all of his time with Zoe. He said the staff and doctors of the hospital are wonderful and very friendly.”
According to Virginia, doctors treating Zoe will continue to monitor her progress and then decide if she needs 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 and a long recovery period. The baby will also need a further operation in six months time.
“The doctors have said Zoe is doing well so far and we believe that she is receiving the best treatment possible. We are praying hard that everything will be ok,” she said.