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Little Heart Warrior, Naledi

Little Naledi was born in September of 2012 - second baby to the Posch family. Their little girl was diagnosed with Severe Ebstein anomaly, VSD and pulmonary stenosis. A rare heart defect that affects the tricuspid valve - the valve that controls the blood flow from the heart’s right upper chamber to the lower right chamber. In Naledi’s case, the right side of the heart’s other valve (the pulmonary valve) was also tight, causing pulmonary stenosis.

At the time of her diagnosis, the Posch family travelled all around the world to ensure the longevity of their little girl. “We visited 3 or 4 paediatric cardiologists in Singapore, South Africa and Switzerland,” writes Naledi’s Dad, David, “we were told by the Signaporean Doctor that we should change the valve. In South Africa, they told us at the time that we should wait as long as we can before intervening. In Switzerland, they advised us to operate immediately and to first see if the valve can be repaired depending on how much tissue there is, and if not, to change the valve.” The Posch opted to travel to Switzerland to have their daughter’s first rectification op. “It was very sad to see our own child really suffering,” shares Naledi’s mom, Ida, “it was traumatizing to hear that we couldn’t have her op in South Africa at the time and also to learn that she wouldn’t live long if we didn’t have the op. It was stressful. Luckily we had family in Switzerland, so we could stay with them, and everything went well.”

Following on from their successful trip and recovery in Switzerland the Posch family returned home to South African soil, knowing that Naledi would need a follow up surgery one day. “We had been told five or six years, but it was dependent on how she grew.” During her waiting period, both Ida and David tried to manage any stress by reminding themselves to “take it easy”. They focused their attention on wanting her to be healthy and do well in school and Ida reflects with gratitude how Naledi has always got the help she needed.

In September of this year, one day after her eighth birthday, Naledi was admitted at Netcare Sunninghill Hospital to be operated on under the lead of our cardiothoracic surgeon, Dr Erich Schürmann. “Now we have replaced Naledi’s valve again here in South Africa and Naledi is doing very well,” shares David. “We are blessed to have such incredible surgeons here in South Africa,” says Ida who expressed her deep gratitude for Naledi’s “amazing surgeon”. Naledi’s second op with the Maboneng team was a wonderful success. “We want to thank Dr Schürmann for his wonderful work. We feel very lucky to have met him.”

“It was stressful during surgery - you never know… only God knows. But the results were good! It went well and she is coping well,” says Ida, who also says that Naledi is not able to do everything just yet.

Ida shared a nuance of grief as she reflected on the fact that Naledi takes about 3-4 medication tablets each day and will have to do so for the rest of her life.

“We have been trying to get in touch with Dr Schürmann to share our gratitude. We are so grateful that she got all the help that she needed. It was traumatizing and we found a lot of comfort in knowing that we have these services available in South Africa.”


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