When Nikita Scott’s mom, Berenice, went into labour with her little girl it was a traumatic experience. The baby had gone into a breech position. Before doctors could perform a Caesarean Section, one of Nikita’s feet came out of the womb, which meant doctors would have to pull her out. Suffering a fractured arm in the process, Nikita failed several of the tests done after birth. She was transferred to the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital for the first of many times in her young life.
Nikita did not develop or grow like most children, affected by a cleft pallet, pneumonia and breathing issues. The middle child of three, she was also diagnosed with Kyphoscoliosis, which means that her spine is abnormally curved. She underwent numerous operations as a baby, including a 20-hour operation on her spine. Berenice spent long periods of time in the Red Cross Children’s Hospital’s Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) as Nikita recovered. “It was a very emotional time but the doctors and the nurses are so helpful and supportive. Nikita had to be resuscitated three times while she was in the ICU, it was very scary.”
When Nikita was just one-years-old, she had to undergo a tracheostomy operation to help her to breathe. The shape of her spine was putting too much pressure on her lungs. “It was a Godsend, it literally saved her life,” Berenice says.
Berenice and her family have taught Nikita that it is OK to look a little bit different to the other children and to embrace the life that she has. So touched has Berenice been by the love and support their family has received, that she has started her own parent support groups in the community of Mitchell’s Plain.
She says, “I will never forget the staff in the ICU and the amazing treatment we have received at the Hospital, including from Sister Jane Booth [of the Breatheasy Programme]. We are so grateful that children and parents will have the best care in the ICU in the years to come.”
Nikita has learned to be independent, strong and confident despite the numerous operations that she has undergone. The way that she expresses this is through spiritual dancing because when she dances, she feels limitless and free.