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The Ruciacks are just one of the many families, who have been helped by the specialist team within the Women’s and Children’s Hospital (WCH) Maternal Fetal Medicine Service.Jack, at just 20 weeks gestation faced the fight of his life. A routine scan showed Jack had a congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH), a tear or gap in the diaphragm.

It’s a rare birth defect, affecting about one in 2,500 babies and many don’t survive. In Jack’s case, the hernia was on the right side of his diaphragm, making his case even more exceptional. Mum Jess and husband Craig were referred to the WCH Material Fetal Medicine service which provides expert diagnosis, ongoing surveillance and management for women whose pregnancies are significantly complicated.

Following a natural birth where Jess was induced at 37 weeks, Jack was intubated immediately and taken to the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit on a respirator. Jack was stabilised and three days later had lifesaving surgery at the WCH.

“We felt quite positive then. He had come through two big hurdles – birth and then surgery – so we felt that, having overcome those, Jack would be ok” Jess said. Jack continued to do well post-surgery and just four weeks later was discharged from hospital. His development and health will continue to be monitored as he grows, but a normal life with no major, lasting problems looks likely.

As a result of the amazing care provided by the hospital, Jess contacted the Friends  and asked if donations could be made to the hospital in lieu of gifts at Jack’s first birthday. The Friends were extremely pleased to be able to facilitate these donation and on the day of Jack’s birthday a total of $360 was collected and donated to the Friends by Jess and Jack. As requested by Jess these funds will be allocated towards a Home Ventilator which allows a child to receive breathing support in their own home.

Thank you to Jess and the donors for your generous donations. If you would like to make a donation towards the ventilator please click on donate today. Alternatively if you or someone you know would like to take up a collection, which can be donated to the Friends in lieu of gifts, please contact the Friends office on 8161 8445 for more information.

{photo} Jess and jack present the funds raised to Andrew Wade, Friends Business Manager.