Sat, Mar 23, 2013 - Page 5 News List

Nauruan baby to return home after Taichung surgery

IN GOOD HANDS:After a series of operations to correct congenital defects, a team from Taichung will continue to provide care for the baby boy in Nauru

Staff writer, with CNA

A five-month-old Nauruan boy has been given a new lease of life by doctors at Taichung Veterans General Hospital, who succeeded in correcting a congenital spinal deformity and other problems after a month of surgeries.

The boy, identified only as Aremwa, was born with a condition known as spina bifida, a developmental spinal disorder.

He also had a 10cm congenital cyst in his spinal cord, neurosurgeon Chiang Ming-zer (江明哲) said on Thursday.

The cyst would have caused a severe infection if it had ruptured, Chiang said.

In addition, the infant was suffering from congenital hydrocephalus, an abnormal accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid on the brain, and was not able to sleep on his back because of pain, the doctor said.

After a month of successful surgeries, Aremwa is recovering well and will return to his South Pacific home soon, Chiang said, adding that the infant’s post-operative care will be handled by a team of doctors from the Taichung hospital, stationed in Nauru, a diplomatic ally of Taiwan.

According to Chiang, the baby’s condition was discovered before he was born, and the spinal deformity was evident at birth, but the hospitals in Nauru lacked the MRI equipment that would have allowed for a precise diagnosis.

Aremwa and his mother came to Taiwan last month under the terms of a 2011 memorandum of understanding between the Taichung hospital and Nauru’s Ministry of Health.

Nauru is to pay most of the medical costs, the hospital said.

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