‘He’s pretty special already’ says mum of first unborn Kiwi to undergo surgery for spina bifida

TVNZ One News 14 February 2017
A woman whose unborn son was the first New Zealander to undergo surgery for spina bifida while still in the womb says he’s pretty special already.

Catherine Harper and her husband faced a tough decision when doctors told them they were not happy with the unborn boy’s head and brain and he had the most severe form of spina bifida.

Spina bifida is a condition where exposed spinal nerves can damage joints, the brain and the internal organs.

She said the treatment options in New Zealand were major brain surgery and spinal surgery in the first two days of the baby’s life “not to mention any other orthopaedic things”.

But a team in Australia gave another ground breaking option – surgery while the baby is still in the womb.

“They had done surgery just in July for first ever mother,” Ms Harper said.

Ms Harper became the first Kiwi mother to have the surgery, the Australian team’s third patient overall, and it was a success.
READ MORE: https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/hes-pretty-special-already-says-mum-first-unborn-kiwi-undergo-surgery-spina-bifida


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