Derbyshire baby’s heart problem fixed by aneurysm

Jemima with brother Thomas, 14, and nine-year-old sister, Ruby.
Jemima with brother Thomas, 14, and nine-year-old sister, Ruby.

A Derbyshire baby has been hailed a “miracle” after she overcame life-threatening holes in her heart – by suffering a potentially-lethal aneurysm.

Mum-of-three Janine Jogela-Monk, 35, said doctors called baby daughter Jemima a “million-to-one” miracle after two holes in her heart were sealed-shut by the aneurysm - a bulge in a blood vessel caused by a weakness in the vessel wall

Jemima, just weeks old, ahead of heart surgery

Jemima, just weeks old, ahead of heart surgery

Jemima, now 18-months-old, was found to have three holes in her heart when she was five-weeks old. At just six-weeks the brave tot had to endure invasive heart surgery, and a month in hospital, to repair part of the organ.

Doctors told Janine and dad Jamie Monk, 38, that when Jemima reached 10 kilograms, she would be able to cope with full heart surgery.

But following the aneurysm in September – surgery is no longer required.

Janine, of Warmwells Lane, said: “Aneurysms certainly aren’t a positive thing. But in Jemima’s case, it caused scar tissue, which turned into muscle, and has now sealed the holes. Doctors even said to us the odds of this happening were a million-to-one. So she’s definitely a little miracle.”

Mum Janine with a healthy Jemima this week

Mum Janine with a healthy Jemima this week

After Jemima fell ill within weeks of birth, medics discovered the holes, caused by Atrial and Ventricular Septal Defects. From Derby Royal Hospital, she was rushed by ambulance to heart specialists Glenfield Hospital, in Leicester.

Janine said: “When the doctors said she had holes in her heart, we were devastated. I just thought she was going to die – I couldn’t picture anything else. It was awful.”

Following invasive surgery, and a period on intensive care, mum and daughter were allowed to go back home after one month in hospital.

Janine said: “When Jemima suffered the aneurysm, we thought we were going to lose her again. But it was just nature’s way of fixing her.”

While Janine and Jemima were in Glenfield Hospital for the month, they were looked after by Heart Link charity.

Janine said: “Without all the great things Heart Link did, that time in hospital could have been very difficult.

“From little things – like giving hospital-bound families a washing machine and a fridge to put your food in – to raising funds for new machinery at the hospital. They do some fantastic work. And after everything they did for us – I wanted to give something back.”

Janine will be hosting a family fun day and craft fair, in aid of the charity, at Marehay Miners Welfare, on Derby Road, Ripley, on Sunday, April 19, between 11am and 4pm. There will be stalls, ice cream, cakes and refreshments. Derby County’s mascot Rammie will also be in attendance.