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PATIENT STORIES

Meet Emily

Emily is two and a half years old and is a very radiant and friendly little girl who loves to listen to the soundtracks of her favourite movies and play outside with friends. Emily has been a healthy child since birth, but in April 2016 her mom, Jody, noticed that her daughter struggled with dizziness and then surprisingly, walking too. “It seemed like she was a baby again who was still learning to walk.”

At first Jody was very confused as to what could be wrong with her daughter, but the strange symptoms that Emily was presenting drove Jody to take her to the nearest clinic sooner, rather than later. “It is very, very hard seeing your child this sick.” After consultations, the doctors initially thought that Emily had meningitis, but ruled this out after extensive tests.

Although Jody was relieved at the time that Emily did not have meningitis, she was still very concerned because her daughter’s walking was worsening daily and she was also suffering from severe dizziness quite regularly. A worried Jody took Emily to the doctors once more, where a CT scan was done to determine Emily’s diagnosis. The results were not revealed to Jody, but the pair was immediately referred to the Red Cross Children’s Hospital on Thursday, 2 June, where mom and daughter have been staying ever since.

At the Red Cross Children’s Hospital, the doctors did an MRI scan and found that Emily had a brain tumour that was located in a part of her brain responsible for sending signals to the rest of her body, initiating movement.  On Tuesday, 7 June, Emily underwent surgery and the doctors managed to successfully remove the tumour. “She is doing much better and improving,” says an overjoyed Jody.

Emily has been staying in the paediatric Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at the Hospital where she is being monitored and receiving the necessary postoperative care. For Jody it is still difficult to see Emily lie on a tiny bed in ICU, especially because she cannot move or hold her so soon after the operation. “I just want to be able to pick up my baby and I want to take her home now.”

Although the journey has been extremely taxing on Jody as a mother, she is delighted that Emily is recovering well and says that the staff in the ICU has made all the difference. “The staff here are very good, they are always coming around and they are very honest and open and ready to help Emily at any time.”

Jody is also thrilled to hear about the building and upgrading of the new ICU at the Hospital, especially because the bed capacity is increasing and there will be more space for parents and visitors. “As a parent I want to be right here next to my child’s side, but you also need space and to be comfortable, so that you are able to care for your child.”

There are many little children like Emily who currently require special care in the paediatric intensive care unit at the Red Cross Children’s Hospital. Help give childhood back by sending an *SMS to 40465 to donate R20 to building a bigger and better ICU.

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