Cabrini medical team performs life-saving surgery for mother of four from Papua New Guinea

Date: 07/09/2018

When Ms Haro first begun suffering migraines in January, doctors in Papua New Guinea told her she was suffering from Dengue fever, and later said she had malaria.

In March, medical scans confirmed she had a brain tumour, which was causing debilitating headaches, paralysis on her left side and slurring of her speech.

The 34-year-old mother of four had to take time off work and was bedridden for several months.

“The migraines started becoming more constant … the pain became so intense that I would throw up just from the pain alone. I was bedridden,” she said.

“It was scary … I thought it was the end of my life. [I thought] what are my kids going to do without me? I’m a single parent,” she said.

Papua New Guinea did not have the equipment required for the complex operation and she could not afford the estimated $70,000 cost of surgery in the Philippines.

When contacted by Ms Haro’s employer, Cabrini agreed to cover the operating costs and bed stay for her to have the life-saving surgery in Australia.

Neurosurgeon Myron Rogers and a team of staff volunteered their time to complete the risky, five hour surgery.

“Cabrini is well known for its pro-bono work … it’s something that’s part of the hospital’s mission statement and I think that all of the staff, if they can help when the situation arises, they are happy to do so,” Mr Rogers said.

“It’s extremely pleasing to see that we’ve been able to have such an impact on her life.”

Ms Haro has had a remarkable recovery since her operation last month and has been given the all-clear to return home to her four children.

Cabrini Associate Nurse Manager of Neurosurgery Tracey Foster said it was great to see Ms Haro enjoying such an excellent recovery.

“I think the whole team was very proud of what we did and we’ll do again … it’s part of being a nurse too, it’s about nurturing and healing,” she said.

Ms Haro said she was incredibly grateful to Cabrini for everything the hospital had done for her.

“It’s just awesome … I wish I could hug all of them [the surgical team], find every single one of them and give them a big hug because they gave up their time to come in and basically save my life,” Ms Haro said.

“I’m so humbled and really appreciative of all of them, I can’t thank them enough. I feel so thankful to be alive.”