Friday, April 28, 2006

Little Maria's opportunity for life

Little Maria Soares has finally had open heart surgery to give her a chance at life. This is a heart warming story which I pray will have a good ending for her and her family.

Her life in their hands … at last - National -


With one last kiss on her two-month-old daughter's temple, Lorencia Soares leaves Maria to members of the cardio-thoracic surgical team who over the next five hours repair the hole in her heart and grant her a new lease of life.

At 4pm yesterday doctors declared the operation a success while Maria lay in the intensive care unit at Sydney Children's Hospital, recovering with her mother by her side.

The tiny East Timorese girl had been facing a death sentence when the Herald highlighted her plight last month. Her condition - a ventricular septal defect - had been identified but her country did not have the resources or specialist to fix it. Moved by her story, doctors from the Sydney Children's Hospital volunteered to perform the operation and she was flown to Sydney two weeks ago.

Maria's surgeon, Peter Grant, said the next two days would be critical to her recovery and warned her condition remained serious. Anaesthetist Alan Rubinstein said her low body weight and fragile health meant the operation was both delicate and challenging.


Lloyd Roever, from the Rotary-funded ROMAC - Reaching Overseas with Medical Aid for Children - has supported Mrs Soares during her time in Sydney.

Maria is expected to stay in hospital for at least a week, and then with her mother will spend a fortnight at Mr Roever's house, preparing for the journey home.

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