- A young South African baby who was born with her heart outside has died, despite groundbreaking medical efforts at a Johannesburg hospital to save her.
According to the South African Health Ministry, baby Ashleigh Louw died this morning at the Chris Hani Baragwanath hospital in Johannesburg, after a marathon operation. Only yesterday, a statement from the family had asked for prayers for the baby to pass on.
Baby Ashleigh was born on 9 January with a very rare condition - her heart protruding out of her chest. Her heart was only covered with a thin layer of skin. The baby underwent a major surgery to put her heart back into her chest when she was only a week old.
Media reports quoted a family spokesperson saying her condition recently deteriorated and was also recently diagnosed with pneumonia.
South Africa's Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi today - during his state visit to the United Kingdom alongside President Jacob Zuma - expressed "sadness" in a statement to the press. "The loss of such a young life is painful to all of us", said Minister Motsoaledi.
However, the Health Minister also emphasised on the ground-breaking efforts to save the baby's life at the Johannesburg hospital, demonstrating the internationally high standards of South Africa's health sector.
"On behalf of the Department of Health I wish to pay tribute to the team that worked hard in trying to save the little life that we have just lost," the Minister stated. "I am aware that they were dealing with a very complicated and rare condition and there is no doubt that they have made medical history in our country."
"We are always encouraged by the dedication of our healthcare workers to do their utmost even under the trying circumstances such as those faced by our hospitals. We are very proud of them," he added.
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