MARYKE PENMAN Last updated 05:00 08/08/2013
Toddler Madison Merrick, 3, of Unsworth Heights, is still awaiting a bowel transplant, two months after moving to the United Kingdom for the operation.
Madiee and mum Alana Merrick, 21, left New Zealand for Birmingham Children’s Hospital in May where it was hoped Madiee would receive a small intestine transplant.
The Ministry of Health has funded part of the trip while the remainder is being met by private donations and sponsorship.
A team of specialist doctors have spent the past two months assessing Madiee to determine whether a transplant is the best option.
Madiee was born with her bowel on the outside of her body, a condition known as gastroschisis.
She has spent most of her life in hospital and is fed via an intravenous line as she cannot digest food.
Madiee has undergone a multitude of medical tests in Birmingham, including a liver biopsy, an endoscopy and a kidney assessment.
Doctors are unsure whether her body can cope with a transplant and are exploring other options.
She has had blood taken to match her with potential donors, but because Madiee is a New Zealand citizen she falls behind British patients on the transplant list.
Being fed intravenously means Madiee is susceptible to life threatening infections and is on a constant stream of antibiotics.
She is rarely allowed outside of hospital for more than a few days at a time.
Mum Alana believes a transplant is her daughter’s only hope for a normal life and has been documenting their journey on Facebook.
In a post on June 24 she wrote: “Most of the time Madison doesn’t complain as it’s all she’s known, but the older she gets the more she’s questioning the way her life is.
“I often find myself dreaming of the life Madison should have had, a life of no hospital, normality and privacy. A circle of friends at kindy, not her nurses.”
Ms Merrick has vowed to keep fighting for a solution and admits that while a transplant won’t cure Madiee’s condition, it will give her more freedom to enjoy the kind of childhood she deserves.
“She will need medical intervention for the rest of her life, and will probably never outlive me.
“But it (transplant) would hopefully give her a better quality of life if we were one of the lucky families.”
Post transplant, Madiee would be expected to remain in the UK for up to two years in case of complications.
A fundraising team is working to support the pair’s time staying in Birmingham.
Go to madisonmerrick.org.nz, call 444 2204 or email email@example.com for more information and to donate.
– © Fairfax NZ News