RMB Solutionist Thinking
4198-bruce-whitfield-solutionist-series-season2-banner-700x300jpg

Ermos Nicolaou: Solving problems in babies, even before they are born

RMB Solutionist Thinking is a podcast series hosted by Bruce Whitfield which focusses on great South African minds thinking differently and going against the norm. In this episode in the second series, Whitfield interviews Professor Ermos Nicolaou, Academic Head at Wits Maternal Foetal Medicine Centre.

A local doctor supported by an international team of experts recently performed Africa's first in-utero spinal surgery at Morningside Clinic. While it sounds like something from science fiction, the surgery was to treat Spina Bifida — a birth defect that affects the development of the baby's spine.

In a medical first on the continent, Specialist in Maternal and Foetal Medicine, Professor Ermos Nicolaou performed the intricate, groundbreaking spinal repair procedure — on a baby, still in its mother's womb at the gestational age of 25 week old. The procedure involved penetrating the uterine wall using tiny instruments to stop the inflammatory process that typically leads to nerve damage and other abnormalities.

This is a level up, this is now proper surgery where you actually would operate on the baby like you would do when the baby is born.

Professor Ermos Nicolaou, Academic Head – Wits Maternal Foetal Medicine Centre

Until now, parents were presented with two options: termination of the pregnancy or waiting until after delivery before performing several corrective surgeries to repair the spine and, affected organs and limbs.

Suddenly that prognosis changes dramatically because if you can fix the problem in the womb, the child has got a far better chance of having a normal life.

Professor Ermos Nicolaou, Academic Head – Wits Maternal Foetal Medicine Centre

In this case, the diagnosis was made at 21 weeks, affording the parents adequate time to make a decision ahead of the 25 week mark — which leaves the baby a chance of survival, should something go wrong during the operation.

The parents received extensive counselling to understand the condition, its consequences and the options available to the baby.

The feeling of enabling a child to actually have a reasonable life, almost normal life. That for me is priceless. That's exactly what we have been doing with our lives. And that's exactly what the aim was of this surgery.

Professor Ermos Nicolaou, Academic Head – Wits Maternal Foetal Medicine Centre

The baby, still in its mother's womb and still growing stronger and stronger, is expected to arrive in July and stands a far better chance at leading an uncomplicated life, thanks to Solutionist Thinker, Professor Ermos Nicolaou.


This article first appeared on 702 : Ermos Nicolaou: Solving problems in babies, even before they are born


Recommended

by NEWSROOM AI
Read More
SA's digital footprint traces back to pioneer, Jason Xenopoulos

SA's digital footprint traces back to pioneer, Jason Xenopoulos

As one of the founding fathers of internet businesses in South Africa, Jason Xenopoulos’ digital rap sheet is longer than most.

Like her wines, this winemaker has flourished in some tough conditions

Like her wines, this winemaker has flourished in some tough conditions

When the story of the winemaker can add as much to wine, as the origin of the grape.

To this solutionist thinker, all-access means success

To this solutionist thinker, all-access means success

William Mapham pioneered Vula Mobile, the app that links healthcare workers with on-call medical and surgical specialists.

Meet the technologist disrupting the freight industry

Meet the technologist disrupting the freight industry

Meet Benji Coetzee, a tech disruptor transforming the face of the male-dominated freight transport industry.

There's a medal haul coming in Tokyo, if this coach has anything to do with it

There's a medal haul coming in Tokyo, if this coach has anything to do with it

Rowing coach Roger Barrow shares his love for winning - especially against better-resourced teams.

Yoco: Small business' saving grace

Yoco: Small business' saving grace

South African fintech venture, Yoco is ensuring that SMEs become the driving force behind wealth development within communities.

Tech-first, solutionist startup disrupts insurance industry

Tech-first, solutionist startup disrupts insurance industry

New kids on the block, Naked is stripping down the costs of car insurance and, rebuilding it with social impact and fairness.

Aisha Pandor, tackling unemployment with dignified work opportunities

Aisha Pandor, tackling unemployment with dignified work opportunities

Bruce Whitfield interviews award-winning South African scientist, businesswoman and Chief Executive of SweepSouth, Aisha Pandor.

Solutionist Thinking: Dr Judy Dlamini’s passport out of poverty

Solutionist Thinking: Dr Judy Dlamini’s passport out of poverty

Bruce Whitfield interviews the Chancellor of Wits University, a qualified doctor, businesswoman, and author.

How RMB went from 'too poor to buy a photocopier' to the largest bank in SA

How RMB went from 'too poor to buy a photocopier' to the largest bank in SA

Bruce Whitfield sat down with GT Ferreira, Laurie Dippenaar and Paul Harris, the inspirational founders of Rand Merchant Bank.

Popular articles
Impact of new debt-relief bill will be 'severe'

Impact of new debt-relief bill will be 'severe'

The National Credit Amendment Bill aims to help indebted consumers earning less that R7,500 per month, restructure their debt.

Ramaphosa seems to be clueless now - Sikonathi Mantshantsha

Ramaphosa seems to be clueless now - Sikonathi Mantshantsha

Daily Maverick's Mantshantsha says the country has been waiting a long time for the economy to be turned around.

'The comedy of errors shows Mkhwebane serving Absa a subpoena intended for FNB'

'The comedy of errors shows Mkhwebane serving Absa a subpoena intended for FNB'

Mail & Guardian investigative editor Thanduxolo Jika unpacks the Public Protector's legal battles.

Clamp down on unregistered 'security guards' near Woodstock's Old Biscuit Mill

Clamp down on unregistered 'security guards' near Woodstock's Old Biscuit Mill

Joint law enforcement operation after visitors in Cape Town complained of being coerced into paying R50 to park on the street.

[WATCH] 'I'm not trying to justify what she did,' Zephany Nurse in her own words

[WATCH] 'I'm not trying to justify what she did,' Zephany Nurse in her own words

Stolen from her mother's bedside as a newborn 22 years ago, Zephany or Miché Solomon as she is now known, tells her story.

Tributes pour in for 'approachable but private' design icon Carrol Boyes

Tributes pour in for 'approachable but private' design icon Carrol Boyes

The designer and businesswoman passed away on Wednesday night following a brief illness, her company confirmed.

SA announces visa waivers for four counties

SA announces visa waivers for four counties

Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi says Qatar has also relaxed entry requirements for SA citizens.

3 emergency numbers you should have on speed dial and how they work

3 emergency numbers you should have on speed dial and how they work

These are the emergency numbers you should have on your cellphone and this is what you must understand about how they work.