Page last updated at 19:44 GMT, Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Baby survivor of Haiti earthquake treated in London

Landina Seignon
Landina Seignon is receiving life-saving treatment in London

A three-month-old girl who survived the Haiti earthquake is to be treated by London's Great Ormond Street Hospital.

Landina Seignon was already in hospital in Haiti awaiting medical treatment when she was buried under the rubble for two days.

She has now been flown to Britain for life-saving surgery.

Richard Hayward, Professor of Paediatric Surgery, said the medical team in London was "cautiously optimistic" about her chances.

Landina, whose mother is thought to have died in the earthquake, was due to have dead bone removed from her skull following a burn injury when Port-au-Prince's Trinity Hospital was destroyed.

She was left in a critical condition and suffered horrific injuries during the chaos which meant doctors were forced to amputate her arm.

British surgeon David Nott told Channel 4 that Landina would die unless she received treatment which she could not get in Haiti.

It is a huge relief to know Landina is in the right environment for her to start her journey towards recovery
Sarah Driver-Jowitt,
Facing the World

Her head injuries meant there was significant risk of brain infection, he said, unless she had an operation.

The medic, working as a volunteer for Medecins Sans Frontieres, began to make arrangements to bring her to the UK for treatment, but the US military refused to allow her out of the country because she had no papers.

Eventually the Haitian Ministry of Health agreed to assess her deteriorating condition and subsequently gave permission for Landina to be evacuated for treatment.

Recovery period

Prof Hayward said: "Tests carried out since her arrival have shown Landina has a healthy brain but the damage to her cranial bone is so severe that it would be impossible to operate on her in a field hospital."

Landina will stay in the UK for a number of months as she recovers but is likely to need further operations, including skin grafts to her head.

Once she is well enough she will be repatriated to Haiti. Her mother is presumed dead and aid workers are now trying to trace any surviving relatives.

If their efforts prove unsuccessful, she will go to an orphanage or foster family.

Sarah Driver-Jowitt, executive co-ordinator for the charity Facing the World - which is paying for her treatment in the UK - said: "It is a huge relief to know Landina is in the right environment for her to start her journey towards recovery.

"Of course this is only the first step and we are working hard to fund-raise to pay for the medical care she requires."

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