Little Ethan Leibbrandt would have died had he not had a miraculous surgery in the womb. Although abortion activists like to make the public think unborn children are no more than blobs of tissue or fetal cells, this pre-birth surgery shows unborn children are indeed human beings worth saving and protecting.
Vanessa and Dean Leibbrandt just could not believe it when foetal specialist Dr Ismail Bhorat told them their unborn baby had a rare lung condition.
Having already lost a daughter just 19 hours after she was born with a rare kidney condition, they had dreaded hearing that their next baby had the same problem.
Now, however, the Glenashley couple were being told their unborn child – a son – had an entirely different life-threatening condition: pulmonary sequestration.
The couple (with Ethan right) from South Africa eventually learned that their baby had a are congenital malformation – a benign tumor that had developed on the baby’s right lung and that was using little Ethan’s blood supply.
By now the tumour was taking up 50 percent of the lung space, pushing the foetus’s heart to one side. On top of that, there was another rare complication.
The tumour was causing a massive pleural effusion (fluid on the lungs), resulting in a form of cardiac failure.
Leibbrandt was also developing a “mirror” syndrome, which Bhorat explained was “a maternal manifestation of what was going on with the foetus”.
Most unborn babies die at this stage, but not Ethan. he had a lifesaving surgery in the womb that made the difference.
But a special foetal surgical team – Bhorat, Dr Samad Shaik, Dr Abdul Gafoor-Shaik, paediatric surgeons, and Attwood Smith – decided that this was a case where they could intervene.
They decided to put in a thoraco-amniotic shunt, similar to those inserted in a few other local patients before they were also born, to drain out the fluid.
The first procedure by the same team in Durban had made South African medical history in 2012.
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It called for the same pinhole surgery and involved inserting an 18cm needle through the mother’s stomach and uterine wall, then through the baby’s ribs and into his chest cavity to drain out the fluid via his mother’s amniotic fluid.
The shunt had to be inserted down through the needle to continue draining out fluid, with the needle then withdrawn, and leaving the shunt in place to continue its life-saving work until the baby was born by Caesarean section. Then it would be clamped off just before he was born.
The next few weeks proved nerve-racking for the Leibbrandts. “We should have been happy, but we were cautious. It was a very stressful, unpleasant time,” they said.
A few hours after his birth, Ethan returned to the operating theatre to have the tumour removed and immediately began to make a remarkable recovery.
Now, the family has a happy, healthy little boy.
LifeNews Note: Photo below right is a file photo of another fetal surgery.