Baby two weeks late for heart surgery as Victoria hospitals fill with Covid patients

Baby is already TWO WEEKS late for life-saving heart surgery because her hospital is crippled by Covid cases

  • Amelia Rehn needs urgent heart surgery but is still waiting in hospital
  • His operation has been canceled four times in the past two weeks
  • Her parents are frustrated that they don’t know when she will be seen
  • Amelia was born with congenital heart disease and needs another stent implant

A 14-week-old baby in urgent need of heart surgery has had the operation canceled four times in the past two weeks as hospitals are overwhelmed with Covid patients.

Amelia Rehn was born with congenital heart disease and is awaiting her stent at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne.

She had her first stent implanted at just two days old, but now needs a replacement as she gets older.

Her anxious parents, Brad and Jessica Rehn, from Tasmania, have been with Amelia in hospital and say they still don’t know when their daughter will have surgery.

“She’s definitely sick enough to be here and watched, but not sick enough to be pushed into emergency surgery,” Ms. Rehn told the Today Show.

“She spends most of her day sleeping because her body uses so much energy trying to keep going.”

Amelia Rehn was born with congenital heart disease and is awaiting her stent at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne. Her parents Jessica and Brad Rehn have been by her side as she awaits surgery

Ms Rehn stayed with her daughter in hospital, but current rules mean only one parent can sleep there, so her husband is staying at Ronald McDonald House.

He said it was unbearable not knowing when a surgery position might open up for Amelia.

“Nobody told us when we’re going to get it,” he said.

“The anxiety and stress of it all is pretty hard on us.”

Surgery is recommended for babies aged 10 to 12 weeks, which means Amelia is already overdue.

“She’s definitely overtaking the shunt that’s in there,” her mother said.

“We were hoping she would have surgery before she started showing major signs that needed replacing, like turning blue and needing oxygen.”

Surgery is recommended for babies aged 10 to 12 weeks, which means Amelia is already late

Surgery is recommended for babies aged 10 to 12 weeks, which means Amelia is already late

The couple said that while the staff were “incredible” they could see the “stress” on their faces as they walked into Amelia’s room without any updates.

Ms Rehn earlier told Nine News that she and her husband were “exhausted”.

“There are not enough beds and the system is down and there is no room,” she said.

More than 89,000 Victorians were awaiting surgery at the end of March, including those in need of urgent care – according to the Victorian Health Information Agency.

On Monday, there were 773 Covid patients in hospital and 40 in intensive care.

State health director Brett Sutton said Victoria was past the peak of infections, but added that “the pressures on the health system will persist for some time to come”.

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