Baby born with organs outside body has life-saving operation
ABU DHABI // Doctors have hailed a five-hour operation to put a newborn baby’s organs back in his body as a success.
Zaid Abunar underwent the operation at Danat Al Emarat Hospital for Women and Children days after being born in the specialist clinic.
He was born with a small intestine and whole liver that protruded from his body, hanging in a thin membrane, after a malformation occurred during his mother’s pregnancy.
Although doctors detected the problem during his mother’s routine, 12-week scan, the outlook for the infant was far from certain.
Zaid’s father, Palestinian engineer Ashraf Abunar, 44, has lived in the UAE since 1974 and has five daughters and another son.
Mr Abunar said the doctors explained the health risks for Zaid. “They gave us all of the scenarios for the operation and treatment after he was born,” he said.
Medical tests performed on Zaid when he was a foetus and after his birth showed that he was missing muscles in his central abdomen around the navel, which led to the protrusion of parts of the stomach, small intestine and liver.
They were contained in a spherical sac about 7 centimetres in diameter, sealed by the umbilical cord lining that allowed the organs to remain well preserved while outside Zaid’s body.
Paediatric surgeon Dr Raja Cingapagu said Zaid’s mother, Najwa, 42, from Palestine, was placed under observation until her delivery, which was scheduled at the 37th week of pregnancy to ensure Zaid’s best chance of a full recovery.
“After two weeks of the birth, the newborn underwent a major five-hour surgery, during which the umbilical lining was removed, abdominal muscles were restructured and the various organs were returned to the abdominal cavity,” he said.
“At the end of the surgery, the opening in the abdominal wall muscles was closed, while ensuring this caused no undue pressure on the other vital organs.”
Cases such as Zaid’s are very rare, affecting only one in 20,000 births. There is no known reason for such malformations, which are categorised as a congenital disease and require a highly qualified medical team to rectify.
Danat Al Emarat Hospital’s foetal medicine unit helped to detect the problem in time to allow doctors to plan for the best possible outcome.
Dr Fareeda Banu Jahangir, a foetal specialist, diagnosed Zaid’s condition.
“This case has emphasised the importance of foetal medicine in diagnosing various diseases and conditions that the foetus may have starting from the early stages of pregnancy,” she said.
“It allows for an appropriate treatment plan to be put in place to continue treating the child after birth.”
It was an anxious wait for Zaid’s parents while he underwent the operation.
“We preferred to stay with the kids at home rather than wait at the hospital where we could do nothing,” said Mr Abunar.
“We had faith that nothing bad would happen. Zaid is doing very well, he is having his milk and starting to laugh at me. He is very tough.”
Zaid left hospital a week after the operation and is now recovering at home.
Updated: May 20, 2017 04:00 AM