‘Miracle baby’ benefits from Mandela Day project

Zarahne with her mother, Yolanda father, Esou before the operation.

A Grassy Park mother believes her two-year-old daughter is a “miracle child” for surviving two near-death experiences in her short life.

Yolanda Lewin said her daughter Zarahne was lucky to be one of the patients chosen in the Department of Health’s campaign “Making a difference to 100 patients during Operation 100 Mandela Project”.

The department has set its sights of improving the lives of a 100 vulnerable members of society who are in dire need of life-changing operations. The additional operations for Mandela Day are being performed on current patients who were identified through the department’s central waiting list.

Zarahne was one of the first recipients of the paediatric surgeries which started through the initiative this year.

Her operation took place at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital.

However, it did not go very smoothly, said Ms Lewin, as her daughter’s windpipe closed up after they gassed her on the operation table.

The doctor had to give her morphine because she was allergic to penicillin.

While laser cutting was used to remove the tonsils, Zarahne had to be given more morphine to relax her muscles after she struggled to breathe.

The operation was a success but she woke up six hours later, said Ms Lewin. “I was so relieved and thanked God for yet another miracle.”

Ms Lewin said memories of Zarahne’s birth resurfaced. She also survived birth after the umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck during the delivery. “I was told by the doctor not to push because they were trying to get the cord off her neck. It was a big struggle and when she eventually came out she didn’t breathe.”

The doctor and his crew shielded Ms Lewin from her baby and she prayed while her daughter was on the oxygen machine. “I knew then that Zarahne was a fighter when she squeezed her breath out for the first time.”

Ms Lewin said at nine months old, Zarahne’s breathing was loud during her sleep and she took her to Victoria Hospital where she was diagnosed with tonsillitis and adenoids.

The swollen tonsils prevented Zarahne from eating and she was only drinking milk, refusing to eat porridge or solid food.

The tonsils had to be removed but Ms Lewin said she had to go on a waiting list.

When the hospital alerted her that her daughter was one of the chosen 100 patients, she was overjoyed.

After the operation Ms Lewin thanked the hospital and staff and her family for supporting her during the recovery of Zarahne’s operation.

While Zarahne did have trouble swallowing and refused to eat after the operation, the medical team said she needed some time.

“They gave her another week before they planned to put her on a drip. On the same day she was due to go to hospital she started to eat her porridge
and she stopped drinking bottle.”

Ms Lewin said all her children had their tonsils removed. The eldest Zachari, 25, Zelodia, 18, as well as Zairion, 6.

Zarahne was eating her lunch when Southern Mail visited their home.

Ms Lewin said she is relieved that her child has recovered from the operation.

“We are happy that she has had her tonsils removed. We thought that this would only happen after a year but through the Mandela Day initiative we got a call and like they say, the rest is history.

Darren Francis, assistant director of communications for the Department of Health, said: “In 2018 we managed to include paediatric surgery also particularly at Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital. Zarahne Lewin was one of the first recipients of the tonsillectomy surgeries that were made possible
due to private partnerships
coming on-board during the month-long Mandela Day initiative.

“We intend on reaching 100 patients by Mandela Day, but our staff and sponsors are working around the clock to meet the additional need.”