Damian was born on 6 July 2014 and at only four months old, he contracted a lung infection. This was the start of a very tough journey for the little baby. He was transferred to the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit at the Red Cross Children’s Hospital, but his condition was rapidly deteriorating. Damian was diagnosed with myocarditis, which is the inflammation of the heart muscle, and TB.
After treatment, it seemed that he may finally have a healthy start to life, but at the age of 9 months, he was diagnosed with a dilated cardiomyopathy. This is a progressive disease of the heart muscle that eventually causes it to fail. It was a devastating blow to the family and Damian was referred to the palliative care service at Sarah Fox Children’s Convalescent Hospital to manage his pain and discomfort. A month later Damian celebrated his first birthday with hospital staff and family. Three months after his admission, he was flown home to receive palliative care in Vredenburg, leaving a void in the hearts of all of those who had treated him.
The Trust recently completed the funding to establish this 10 bed Paediatric Palliative Care Unit at Sarah Fox, making this care accessible to many more children like Damian.