LONDON: Nine-month-old Ainul Mardhiah, who was flown here for treatment of a rare form of cancer known as Germ Cell Tumour, was successfully operated on yesterday (June 10) at a local hospital here.

The large tumour which grew in the baby’s mouth, weighing about 200g, was removed by a team of surgeons and anaesthetists led by Professor David Dunaway, consultant plastic and reconstructive surgeon and head of the Craniofacial Unit of the hospital which admitted Ainul Mardhiah upon her arrival from Malaysia on May 24.

“The operation went very well. It went better than planned.

“The tumour came out as expected,” said Juling Ong, a Craniofacial and paediatric plastic surgeon who was one of four doctors who took part in the five-hour operation which started at 11am.

“There was not too much bleeding. Thankfully, she was nice and stable throughout the operation. She had a massive tumour. It was a big operation,” he added.

According to Ong, who hails from Penang, there were cancerous and non-cancerous components of the tumour.


Juling Ong, Craniofacial and Paediatric surgeon with Safiuddin and Erwani. Pic by NSTP/ZAHARAH OTHMAN

“Now, we need to keep her comfortable in Intensive Care, let her recover and let the wounds heal, and then we will reassess her over the next few weeks and months to see if there are any signs of recurrence” he said, adding that Ainul Mardhiah will be administered a lot of pain relief to help her cope.

Ong also paid tribute to Dr. Nur Amalina Che Bakri, a trainee surgeon whose initiative made it possible for Ainul Mardhiah and her parents to be flown to London for the treatment.

“Without Dr. Nur Amalina, we would not have known about the case and the donations from Malaysians that made it possible for her to come here for treatment,” said Ong, adding “Malaysia Boleh” with a big smile on his face.

Dr. Nur Amalina, who broke the news about the successful operation, was present throughout the surgery.

“When I (first) saw stories and pictures of baby Ainul, I felt really bad and I tried my best to get her over here and made sure that the operation went according to plan.

“I feel that she is part of my family now. I hope that Malaysians will continue to pray for Ainul’s recovery from this operation,” she said before dashing off to start work at her hospital.

Beaming with happiness were Ainul Mardhiah’s parents, Ahmad Safiuddin Ahmad Razak and Nurul Erwani Zaidi, both 24, who visited their baby after the operation.

“We are truly grateful that we have been given this chance to be parents to Ainul again, and we look forward to look after her and play with her like any normal baby.

“When I first saw her face after the operation (without the growth), she looked so beautiful, just like when she was born. This was Ainul reborn,” said Safiuddin.

“I just want to see her smile again when she wakes up,” said Erwani.

Both Safiuddin and Erwani, while thanking generous Malaysians for their donations, requested that they continue to pray for Ainul’s well-being.

Ainul and her parents were flown in by MAS who sponsored the trip, accompanied by two medical volunteers, Dr Gunalan Arumugam and Col (Rtd) dato Dr Jaseemuddeen Abu Baker, both consultant anaesthetists from the society of aero medicine Malaysia.

In London, the same team of volunteers who had assisted stroke victims to be repatriated to Malaysia, Dr Fahja Ismail, Dr Najmiah Khaiessa Ahmad and Dr Sharifah Faridah Syed Alwi assisted the young family with not only emotional support but also with finding accommodation and settling in.

These people are to Safiuddin and Erwani, their extended family in this foreign land.

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Dr Nur Amalina explains the operation to Erwani and Safiuddin. Pic by NSTP/ZAHARAH OTHMAN