LANDINA Seignon has been through more than most three-month-old infants.
But so far, the little girl appears to have had luck on her side – not only did she survive the earthquake which struck Haiti last month, but she was already in hospital awaiting medical treatment when she was buried under the rubble for two days.
And more than three weeks later, after the sick child’s condition failed to improve, medics flew her more than 4,000 miles to Britain for life-saving surgery.
Now a team at London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital is preparing to operate on her.
Richard Hayward, Professor of Paediatric Surgery, said the British medical team was ‘cautiously optimistic’ about her chances.
“She is an incredibly robust little baby who has gone through so much already but she is bright, alert and healthy,” he said.
The baby, whose mother disappeared in the quake, was due to have some dead bone removed from her skull following a burn injury when Port-au-Prince’s Trinity Hospital was destroyed.
She was left in a critical condition and suffered horrific injuries during the chaos which meant doctors were forced to amputate her arm.
Medics in the stricken country initially rated her chances of survival as slim.
And more than three weeks after the quake, British surgeon David Nott told Channel 4 news Landina would die unless she received treatment which she could not get in Haiti.
Her head injuries meant there was significant risk of brain infection, he said, unless she had an operation.
The medic, who was working as a volunteer for Doctors without Borders, began to make arrangements to bring the little girl to the UK for treatment.
But the US military refused to allow her out of the country because she had no papers.
News of her plight rapidly spread across the globe and as offers of help poured in, the Haitian ministry of health agreed to assess her deteriorating condition.
It subsequently gave permission for Landina to be evacuated for treatment.
She was cared for in a car next to a heliport as carers waited for her emigration papers to be signed before she was flown to the Dominican Republic and on to Britain, arriving on February 12.
Prof Hayward added: “Tests carried out since her arrival have shown Landina has a healthy brain but the damage to her cranial bone is so severe that it would be impossible to operate on her in a field hospital.
“The team at Great Ormond Street Hospital intend to operate tomorrow to remove the dead bone from her skull and remain cautiously optimistic about her recovery.”
Landina will stay in the UK for a number of months as she recovers but is likely to need further operations, including skin grafts to her head.
Once she is well enough she will be repatriated to Haiti.
Her mother is presumed dead and aid workers are now trying to track down any surviving relatives.
If their efforts prove unsuccessful, she will go to an orphanage or foster family.
Sarah Driver-Jowitt, executive coordinator for the charity Facing the World – who are paying for her treatment in the UK – said: “It is a huge relief to know Landina is in the right environment for her to start her journey towards recovery.
“Of course this is only the first step and we are working hard to fundraise to pay for the medical care she requires.” – Daily Mail UK