Lara-Richel was born a healthy baby in 2005. Only when she had trouble with potty-training, did her mother seek medical advice and after an ultrasound, was told her daughter was ‘too lazy and will outgrow’ this. By the age of six, Lara was still on diapers and a second medical opinion gave the same response. Since she is often ridiculed by other children, Lara is home-schooled by her mother, Stiffeney.
While at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital in January 2011, Stiffeney asked advice from one of the specialist surgeons treating her son, who was injured in a go-karting accident. An appointment with the Hospital’s Urologist revealed that Lara had a duplex kidney with an additional, fully-functional ureter, which carries urine straight to the outside of her body instead of passing it through her bladder first. Stiffeney opted for Lara to have endoscopic (minimally invasive) surgery and was sent home two days later with a catheter. Training in endoscopic surgery is available to surgeons at the Hospital’s new Surgical Skills Training Centre, so Lara could not have asked for a better place of healing. A possible blockage in the catheter saw Lara back at the Hospital with vomiting, fever and abdominal pain. The excess fluids have since been drained and Lara is well on her way to full recovery. Stiffeney is looking forward to taking Lara home to her brothers and excited about watching her daughter live a normal life – free to be outdoors and to play with her peers.