Madiee’s jour­ney moves closer to com­ple­tion

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS -

Des­per­ately ill Madiee Mer­rick has been wait­ing more than a year on the other side of the world for surgery that will save her life.

This month the 4-year-old fighter got one step closer to the fin­ish line.

Mum Alana Mer­rick signed what she says is the most im­por­tant doc­u­ment she will ever put her name to - a form that puts her daugh­ter on the wait­ing list for a small in­tes­tine trans­plant.

Madiee was born with the rare disor­der gas­troschi­sis and her small and large in­testines sat out­side her ab­dom­i­nal wall.

She also had a hole in her bowel.

Surgery needed to save Madiee’s life isn’t avail­able in New Zealand so the pair moved to the UK.

The sick tod­dler still has to wait for a suit­able donor match which could take more than a year, but Mer­rick says be­ing one step closer is a re­lief.

Doc­tors have tried var­i­ous pro­ce­dures over the last year to get Madiee’s stom­ach work­ing in­de­pen­dently, the 22-year-old mother says.

‘‘They re­moved part of her in­tes­tine, tried a re­sec­tion. These things took away her pain but her tummy still wasn’t work­ing on its own.

‘‘When we got here we were ex­pect­ing to be put straight on the trans­plant list but doc­tors had to make sure it was the best op­tion,’’ Mer­rick says.

Madiee’s health has im­proved, de­spite a fail­ing in­tes­tine, and she fi­nally sleeps through the night for the first time, Mer­rick says.

‘‘Even though she is con­nected to pumps for 20 hours a day, she is pain-free and she’s the health­i­est she has ever been.’’

Madiee had spent all but five months of her life in hos­pi­tal before the shift to the UK.

Alana says hav­ing her lit­tle girl liv­ing at home is the best gift of all.

The young mother says doc­tors orig­i­nally said the pair would have to stay at least two years af­ter Madiee re­ceives her trans­plant.

‘‘They now say once Madiee is sta­ble af­ter the op­er­a­tion we’ll only have to stay six months.

‘‘We can’t wait to come home,’’ Alana says.

Madiee’s sit­u­a­tion has made Mer­rick look at life dif­fer­ently and re­alise how pre­cious it is, she says.

‘‘I will stand by Madiee through what­ever.’’

The Min­istry of Health has funded part of the trip while the re­main­der is be­ing met by pri­vate do­na­tions and spon­sor­ship.

Al­most over: Af­ter more than a year of wait­ing to be put on the trans­plant wait­ing list, 4-year-old Madiee Mer­rick has fi­nally made the list.

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