Cyprus Mail

Baby Zoe opens her eyes for first time after life-saving operation

By Bejay Browne

A THREE-WEEK old baby girl has opened her eyes for the first time after a life saving operation carried out in Israel, paid for by the health ministry.

Zoe underwent a cardiac catheterisation procedure on July 7, performed by a team of specialists at the Schneider Children’s Medical Centre in Haifa. It is not possible to carry out the operation in Cyprus.

The baby’s Indian father, 31-year-old John Dhull, was yesterday, clearly overcome with emotion as Zoe opened her eyes for the first time in over a week.

“She had tears in her eyes, so I held her hand and told her not to cry and she slowly went back to sleep. It was a wonderful moment.”

Dhull has been spending every possible moment at his daughter’s side. He has been given accommodation at the hospital and says he can’t praise the medical team enough.

Zoes mum, 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.

Dhull, whose visa also recently ran out, was able to travel to be with his daughter after being granted a one month re-entry visa to Cyprus by the immigration authorities at the last minute.

The baby’s parents say that doctors seem confident that Zoe will not have to undergo another procedure just yet – as was originally feared, but it’s as yet unclear if she will have to have another operation in six months time.

Although Zoe is recovering remarkably well, she remains in the Intensive Care Unit but doctors have informed her parents that they hope to move her to a ward in coming days.

“Zoe is still having injections and other medication, although not as much as before,” said Dhull.

He is hoping to bring Zoe home to Cyprus at the end of this month.

In the meantime, her mother is making plans for the baby’s return and trying to get as much rest as possible following her caesarean and ensuing complications. She said: “I am missing her so much, I can’t wait to hold her in my arms; I’m praying that she will stay strong.”

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 health ministry stepped in.

Zoe’s parents expressed their immense gratitude to the minister of health for stepping in to give the baby a chance of a healthy life.

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