The story of Donnay Benjamin

A tiny 5 week old baby Donnay was brought to the Tygerberg Children’s Hospital by her very concerned parents. She was coughing excessively and had difficult, noisy breathing. She was admitted to the Paediatric ICU, placed on a respirator, and examined by a Lung Specialist with state of the art medical equipment (bronchoscope) specifically designed to examine the small delicate air passages of babies and young children.

The tests results showed that Donnay had a narrowing in her air passage and that her right lung was only partially developed. This was a life threatening condition and the Specialists together with Donnay’s parents decided that in order to save her an operation was critically needed.

Donnay was operated on by Dr Jacques Jansen who trained at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto Canada and the Tygerberg Hospital.  What made this operation challenging was her very young age. Additionally, at the time there was very limited experience in South Africa in the type of operation she needed. Thankfully she did very well after the operation, and although she had to come to the hospital while she was very young whenever she developed chest infections, she has become stronger as she got older.

Today Donnay is a happy and healthy 5 year old who resides with her parents and grandparents in Cape Town. Her lung functioning is monitored on a regular basis at the Tygerberg Children’s Hospital. Her family has expressed their extreme gratitude for not only her life being saved but also due to the fact that she has since not experienced any serious complications.

This story was a life changing event not only for Donnay and her family but potentially also for any other South African child who may present with similar difficulties.