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"Our little Heart Warrior"

On the 23rd of May 2018, the Barske family welcomed their first baby - a little girl - into the world. Little did they know that their new born baby arrived with a heart condition. Heart-mom, Lizette recalls how “Meghan was a calm baby who always fell asleep when she started to cry, but we didn’t think anything of it. She looked like a porcelain doll, a little grey in colour, but we still didn’t suspect anything was wrong.”

Before and after surgery - can you see the colour difference?

When Meghan was four months old, in September of 2018, she was admitted to hospital for a dairy allergy. It was then that her paediatrician picked up the murmur of her heart and called in a cardiologist to further assess the situation. “We were anxious, as we didn’t know what to expect,” shares Lizette. The following morning, the Barske’s little girl was diagnosed with Tetralogy of Fallot (ToF) - a combination of heart defects which are present from birth and which affect the structure of the heart and cause oxygen-poor blood to flow from the heart to the rest of the body. Along with ToF, it was discovered that Meghan and an absent pulmonary valve. She needed open heart surgery before she was one year old. From the time of her diagnosis until December 2018, Meghan was in and out of hospital with breathing difficulties. At one of her visits, her doctors noticed an enlargement on the one side of her heart and made the decision to move her surgery date forward. She was scheduled to go into theatre with Cardiothoracic Surgeon, Dr Hendrick Mamorare in February 2019. At an angiogram the day before her surgery, the Barske’s were informed that their little girl had five holes in her heart. “They were still comfortable to go ahead with the procedure the following day…” says Lizette. “The night before Meghan’s surgery, Dr Madlala [her anesthetist] came to chat with us and to answer all our questions for the following day.” On the 7th of February 2019, Meghan had her successful open heart surgery at Netcare Sunninghill Hospital led by Dr Mamorare. “During surgery, we received messages from Dr Madlala to keep us informed on the progress of the procedure. This was a lifesaver. This was probably the worst and longest six hours of our lives!” “The team who operated on Meghan was truly amazing. Dr Mamorare was extremely patient and always checked in with us if he walked past us in the hospital halls, which we appreciated so much!” shares Lizette, “the support we received within and outside of the hospital was incredible and our little girl just took this whole journey in her stride.” Six days after her surgery, the Barske family were sent home. “For the first time, our grey baby had pink cheeks and all of a sudden our little girl didn’t fall asleep when she cried, she was more awake and energetic than ever.”

“By March, we were given the go ahead to fly with her for the first time, as we were in our emigration process to Ireland. After her last Synagis injection, on the 1st of May 2019, we were on a flight to our new home, Ireland.” “We’ve had two checkups since her surgery and the doctors are very pleased with her and her perfect little heart.”


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