As Ireland prepares for an abortion referendum – Baby Hope who was born with her heart outside her chest has had successful surgery and is thriving – TheLiberal.ie – Our News, Your Views
January 22, 2018

As Ireland prepares for an abortion referendum – Baby Hope who was born with her heart outside her chest has had successful surgery and is thriving

Image source: BBC

Baby Vanellope Hope Wilkins was born on November 22 without a breastbone, the long bone to which the ribs are attached and her little heart was actually beating outside her chest.

Her parents didn’t bend to the multiple offers of abortion to end their child’s life, they didn’t give up, ever.

Affectionately now known as “baby Hope”, she has ectopia cordis, a rare condition in which the heart is “abnormally located either partially or totally outside of the chest,” according to Glenfield Hospital in Leicester, England, where Vanellope was born and where she is still currently being treated.
Babies that are born with this condition have a survival rate of less than 10% due to the risks of infections and other side effects, the hospital added. Doctors told Vanellope’s mother to have an abortion and end her beautiful baby’s life.

Thankfully baby Hope’s parents resisted the pressure from the doctors and society in the UK to stay on the road and give their baby a chance.

According to Business Insider, Vanellope is now the first baby to have survived with this condition in the UK, having had successful surgery.

Naomi Findlay, Vanellope’s mother, said pre-natal scans and tests showed her daughter’s heart and parts of her stomach growing outside her body.

Vanellope’s father, Dean Wilkins, told the BBC: “We were advised to have a termination and that the chances of survival were next to none — no-one believed she was going to make it except us.”

Immediately after Vanellope was born, she was “immediately placed in a sterile plastic bag” to keep her organs sterile and tissues moist.

After some three hours of surgery, baby Hope is in intensive care unit, where she will stay for several weeks, “while she hopefully gets strong enough, and big enough, for her heart to be placed fully within her chest and covered in her own skin,” anaesthetist Dr Nick Moore said.

Findlay said: “I had prepared myself for the worst; that was my way of dealing with it. I had brought an outfit to hospital that she could wear if she died.

“I’m now confident she won’t wear it so I’m going to donate it to the hospital.”

Wilkins told the BBC: “She defying everything — it’s beyond a miracle.”

Meanwhile, Ireland’s Committee on the Eighth Amendment – the Amendment that states equal right to life for both mother and baby, has recommended repealing the Eighth Amendment, effectively offering abortion on demand and specifically for the type of condition that baby Hope has fought for her life to beat.

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