He’s been described as a miracle baby.
Joel Ford was born in Durban on Tuesday, weighing a healthy 3.3kg, after undergoing groundbreaking pinhole surgery when his mother was 31 weeks pregnant.
The infant was diagnosed, in-utero, with a life threatening illness which was causing a build-up of fluid in his chest.
According to Dr Ismail Bhorat, had he gone untreated, little Joel would almost certainly have developed breathing problems, ultimately resulting in his death.
“Indeed, no fewer than 90% of babies who develop the condition die before birth.”
During the procedure, an ultrasound was used to remotely steer a needle through the mother’s abdomen and uterine wall, into the foetus’ chest cavity.
A special shunt was then inserted to drain the fluid from the foetus’ lungs and was left in place so that it could continue draining the lungs until the baby’s birth.
Netcare Umhlanga Hospital’s obstetrician and gynaecologist, Dr Carlos Hartmann says more babies will now benefit from this surgery.
“Traditionally, medical conditions have always been difficult to treat in-utero. We were able to treat a condition that was previously considered untreatable. This procedure brings new hope to the moms whose babies develop hydrothorax.”