herald

Friday 20 October 2017

Baby who was born with vital organs on wrong side of her body

DISTRESS: Dublin's mum's fear as doctors haven't encountered such a condition before

A BRAVE Dublin toddler is battling with a condition so rare that her doctors believe no other child in the country suffers from it.

Ten-month-old Romy Mulraney was born with her internal organs lying in the opposite side of her body -- her heart, for example, is on the right side -- and this genetic disorder is underlined by another serious condition which could scar her lungs.

Her mother, Lorna Swift (29) recalled her distress when she found out her daughter would constantly be frequenting hospitals and would probably require round-the-clock care.

"She had an extremely bad reaction to her first immunisation when she was three months old, so we brought her to the hospital but they couldn't detect what was wrong with her.

"The same thing happened again a few days later, her heart rate was off the scale and doctors decided to take an X-ray of her heart and that's when we found out it was on the wrong side and the next day they found all her organs had the same abnormality.

"We were very frightened, it's so rare that doctors don't know much about the condition, they said it was the first time they'd seen anything like this in their working life."

The Tallaght native said she did not know which course of action she should be following as she could not find anyone who had experienced the same situation.

"A few people have their heart on the opposite side, but it's very rare to have all internal organs reversed. I tried to look for other cases similar to Romy's one to get advice from other families but the last known case I found was from Russia in 1998."

The mother-of-two explained that the doctors she had consulted in The National Children's Hospital in Tallaght had been unable to enlighten her on complications that may arise from Romy's disorder.



specialist

"A paediatrician and a respiratory specialist at Tallaght hospital weren't able to tell us whether she might have a child of her own one day, or whether she will even be able to do PE in school," Lorna said.

"All we know is that for the foreseeable future she will be in and out of the hospital."

The baby girl also lacks hair follicles in her nose and on her lungs, putting her at risk of picking up any infection, including pneumonia, which can have fatal consequences in young children, especially those with an immune system as weak as Romy's. Romy is currently on a course of antibiotics and uses an inhaler at night because of this secondary condition.

Her mother must make sure she is always kept in very dry places, as humidity can cause her to develop infections.

"With the winter coming, it's going to be very tough for her," she said.

Lorna said she was concerned that returning to her house in Tallaght would cause deterioration in Romy's health.

"I left my house nine weeks ago because there were leaks and sewage problems. It was becoming too dangerous for Romy.

"Now I am really worried because I will be returning to the house this weekend.

"South Dublin City Council has told me that if I don't move back, they will take the house from me even though I'm still paying rent for it.

"They were sent seven letters from different doctors to tell them that under no circumstances should Romy stay there because of her condition, but they ignored them."

A spokeswoman for South Dublin City Council told the Herald that the housing department does not usually comment on individual cases.

hnews@herald.ie

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