Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

The smile that says I’m home: Little boy leaves hospital after winning two-year fight for life

© NEWSLINE MEDIA LIMITEDAndikan Iba
Andikan Iba

Two-year-old Andikan Iba grasps his mother’s hands and a broad smile lights his little face.

It’s a scene most families take for granted. But for his parents it’s a monumental moment they thought they would never see.

The little boy – who has the genetic condition Charge Syndrome along with a rare combination of potentially lethal heart defects – has spent his life sedated and on a ventilator in a hospital. Doctors believed he would not survive, and if he did, he would never be fit enough to live again with his family.

But tenacious Andi – who has had a series of cardiac and respiratory arrests and endured a catalogue of open heart surgeries – has surprised everyone. Dubbed a “medical miracle”, he has rallied against all odds and was, in March, given the green light to go home.

His struggle didn’t end there. First, his parents had to wait for a new home to be specially adapted to accommodate his medical needs and equipment. Then Covid-19 struck, plunging the country into lockdown, and forcing him to shield in hospital.

© SYSTEM
Andikan Iba as a baby.

Now for the first time, little Andi is able to live with his family; mum Josephine, 31, dad Innocent, 43, and brothers Akwamfon, seven, and Abasiekeme, six. Speaking from the home they now share in Aberdeen, Josephine said: “Having Andi finally live with us is like a dream; something we had been hoping and waiting on for so long. It feels so good to be a family again. We are finally happy.”

Josephine’s pregnancy was induced at 39 weeks at Glasgow’s Queen Elizabeth University Hospital after problems were detected during a routine 20-week scan at Aberdeen Maternity Hospital. Nigeria-born Josephine explained Andi’s delivery on November 9, 2017, had to be planned so that the right medical professionals could be present. Without them, she said, he would have died.

Charge Syndrome was diagnosed, along with heart problems that included transposition of the great arteries, atrio-ventricular septal defect (AVSD), and bicuspid aortic valve. She explained: “It meant the arteries in his heart were the wrong way round so he had the oxygenated and the de-oxygenated blood mixing up and going around his body. Because the valves were not close enough to each other, it was difficult to correct. And he had AVSD – a big hole in his heart.”

Innocent added: “These defects are rare combinations, making Andi’s case exceptional. It involved input from teams at the Boston Children’s Hospital in the USA, and Great Ormond Street Hospital in London.”

© NEWSLINE MEDIA LIMITED
Josephine and Innocent Iba with their sons Abasiekeme, 6, Andikan, 2 and Akwamfon, 7

Andi’s first surgery was at three weeks and was followed by several more including a 12-hour procedure to correct the heart defects and another to fit a pacemaker to control the organ’s electrical function. “It was traumatic,” said Josephine. “Lots of times we got to the point of nearly losing him.”

Innocent – who has a PhD from Aberdeen University – said that despite the surgeries Andi continued to have difficulties. The family had tried to bring him home for small breaks, but each time it had resulted in a relapse that saw him rushed back to Glasgow by air ambulance. Josephine said: “We were losing him because of either respiratory arrest or heart attack. He was close to death.”

The turning point came in November of 2018 when doctors fitted a tracheostomy – a tube into the windpipe to get air into the lungs. It was a success and a springboard to a return to his family.

Innocent said: “Andi has shown great determination to live. His survival is termed by many including his doctors as a medical miracle.”

The couple, committed Christians, say they couldn’t be more grateful for the help they have received. They smiled: “Our prayers have been answered.”