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Little Warrior, Liam

Little heart warrior, Liam, was born at 37 weeks on the 1st of February 2021. Liam spent the first two weeks of his life in the neonatal ICU in Benoni on a feeding tube and in need of support to assist him to breathe, as his lungs were not yet strong enough to cope on their own. Three days after his arrival into the world, while in ICU, the Malan’s baby boy was diagnosed with Down Syndrome.

It was two weeks in that the Malan’s paediatrician discovered an obstruction in Liam’s oesophagus and consulted with paediatric cardiologist, Dr Sinyangwe, to assist with a diagnosis.

Liam was transferred to Netcare Sunninghill Hospital, where he underwent an angiogram to find out what was causing the obstruction. Dr Sinyangwe confirmed the presence of a Thoracic Ring, a defect of the aortic arch and a Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA - which is common for baby’s born prem and with Down Syndrome).

On Friday the 19th of February, almost 1 week after arriving at Sunninghill Hospital, Liam went in for his surgery with Dr Erich Schürmann. “We met with Dr Schürmann and Liam’s anaethetist, Dr Naidoo, that Friday morning. On the Saturday, he was still sedated in CTICU, on the Sunday they took his tubes out and by the Monday, we were moved to neonatal,” shares Candice, “we feel incredibly blessed and grateful.”

Baby Liam after his life changing surgery.

"After his operation, he was able to feed on his own, his oxygen stats had improved and he was breathing without assistance. He was a completely different baby.”

The Malan’s were sent home with their first born on Wednesday the 24th of February, not even one week after their little warrior’s surgery, “we know we were really lucky. We were sent home with home oxygen, which he was on for one month, and now he no longer needs it,” says a grateful Candice, who sends her heart out to all the little one’s in CTICU and their families.

“For us, the most stressful part was not knowing. Liam was sweating, unable to feed, unable to breathe and yet, for all two weeks of his life, we didn’t know why. We didn’t know how he was going to get diagnosed or how we were going to fix it,” shares Candice, “as soon as we transferred to Sunninghill, everything took a turn for the best… we started getting answers and there was a plan; a way forward.”

“Liam really is our little warrior. He has taught us more than we could ever teach him.”


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