Andreï, Romania

andrei_150.jpg At first

Andreï was born prematurely. According to his mother, this could have been caused by the fact that she was already 40 at the time. She gave birth to him after 7 months of pregnancy and he was placed into an incubator.

When he was 10 days old, Andreï developed a high fever. The doctors tried to treat him with antibiotics. Unfortunately the bacteria were highly resistant and even after trying several types of antibiotics, the fever would not go away. Andreï was diagnosed with blood poisoning, but later his parents learned that he had been suffering from meningitis.
No treatment

Andreï's mother kept a close eye on her child and measured his head circumference regularly. After 5 weeks she noticed that her son's head started to grow. She notified the doctors and they referred her to another specialist. A CT scan was made, but according to the specialist there was no indication for surgery. Andreï's parents begged the specialist to treat their child, but he refused. They were told to take Andreï home and accept his fate. He was beyond help and was probably going to die. If not, his brain would be so damaged already that he was going to be "like a vegetable".

For the next months the parents did everything within their power to try and find help for their son. They turned to every organisation they could think of, including the Romanian Red Cross. If Andreï couldn't receive treatment in Romania, they wanted to try and take him to a doctor in another country. They were advised to contact the International Red Cross, because the Romanian Red Cross didn't have funds for humanitarian aid abroad.
Help from Austria

While visiting the Romanian Red Cross office, by chance they met a woman from Austria who learned about their struggle to find help for Andreï. She had many useful contacts and was able to arrange an appointment for them in a hospital in Vienna. Because of the meningitis contracted after birth, Andreï had developed Hydrocephalus and needed a shunt. He received surgery in Austria and the costs of the operation were fully covered by Vienna City Council. They also financed the follow-up care.
andrei_4.jpg Follow-up care

In 2006, when they returned to Austria for the 4th time, the neurosurgeon told them about the Romanian Association for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus (ARSBH). Andreï and his family visited the Annual Meeting of ARSBH and met with the neurosurgeons that are a member of this organisation. The follow-up care is now taking place in Romania and no further visits to Austria are needed.

Andreï grew up to be a bright 10-year-old boy who is doing very well at school and has already won several prices, including one for acting. He enjoys spending time at the computer, playing outside with his friends and loves cuddling with his bunny "Longears".

In 2010 Andreï will need another operation, a shunt revision, because he has outgrown the shunt. The tube that drains the cerebrospinal fluid to his abdominal cavity has become too short and needs to be replaced. The specialist who refused to operate on Andreï claims that he is an exceptional case and that his parents simply have been very lucky.


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