Helping a special young lady from Russia
“Darina is a fighter.” Elena, her mum, says. Darina was born in Siberia with a rare condition that caused severe facial deformities. Her family never gave up searching for a better future for Darina and fought against obstacles, such as being ostracised from their community and family, to find that hope. Fortunately, with help from the Russian public, RusFond and Anglomedical, the family were able to come to Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH), to get the further treatment that Darina desperately needed to secure a better future. “We have been cut off from other people. Professor Dunaway has given us the chance to carry on life like other people; it was a really happy moment to be accepted by GOSH.”
Darina originally received treatment in Russia but couldn’t have any more surgeries due to her low weight – at age six, she weighed the same as a one-year old. “Her mouth was permanently open, and she was eating with only two teeth,” Explains Ella Kitromilides, Managing Director of Anglomedical, a medical concierge service based in the UK. “Because of this she was getting lots of infections in her mouth.” Thankfully, she was able to see experts at GOSH.
“We came to GOSH because Professor David Dunaway was the only one who accepted her as a patient,” Elena explains. “We learnt about him online and found out he was the professor with the ‘gold hands’; so, when we came to GOSH, we knew everything would be alright.”
“Darina came to GOSH because of her severe facial deformities; which has many of the features of Nager syndrome.” Professor Dunaway, Consultant Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon, explains. “She needs multi-stage treatment, the first part of which took place earlier this year. We reconstructed her lower jaw and lip using bone grafts and a free flap. It involved a big GOSH team of plastic, craniofacial and maxillofacial surgeons, as well as paediatricians supporting the family on the ward.”
“Darina had a big gap between her top and bottom jaw.” Explains Miss Caroline Mills, Consultant Maxillofacial Surgeon, who was part of Darina’s surgical team. “The soft tissue at the front of the neck was very tight and was preventing the jaw to grow forward properly. In order to allow her to close her jaw and have enough soft tissue, Professor Dunaway did a free lap. This took tissue from her thigh and placed it into the neck, to give her jaw and mouth enough space.”
“Our team broke her jaw at the back.” Miss Mills continues. “It was a very unusual surgery, but we created a ‘v’ space at the back, using bone grafts from the hip, to allow her to close her jaw for the first time in her life.”
“GOSH was one of the first place we felt accepted, I’m really grateful to all the staff.” Elena says. “The staff always have big smiles and are understanding no matter how Darina behaves or what condition she’s in. We’ve seen real kindness here.”
“There is a big team of volunteers who have helped our family in London. RusFond was a big financial support, helping us come to GOSH. There is a priest from the Russian Church, Father Maxim, who supported us in London. There were a few times that staff asked if we needed support from a psychologist – but there was such big circle of support for us in London we didn’t need this.”
Elena, Darina and their family were also supported by Ella and the Anglomedical team. “Anglomedical were a real moral support. They helped with all the medical parts; they translated everything, sorting out any issues. They were a major support; we always go to them for help.”
“Darina had good post-op recovery and did very well.” Miss Mills explains. “She will need more surgeries in the future, in order to help her jaw grow into a more reasonable position.
“She is learning how to use her new jaw shape and movement.” Elan says, describing her hopes for Darina’s future. “I’m hoping she will start doing some sport and definitely dance as she’s very flexible. I also hope that she will be able to start reading and writing soon. The most important thing is that Darina is happy.”
Darina’s trip and medical bills in the UK were covered by RusFond, one of Russia’s largest charity foundations.
Darina’s family continue to fundraise for future treatment.
For Russian donors, Darina’s mother Sberbank card number is 5484 3100 1026 0112.
AngloMedical are the market leader in organising world class medical treatment for expats living in the UK and overseas clients from Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Middle East and China. We provide consulting, booking, interpreting and assistance with visas and accommodation. We arrange consultations and treatment with top medical professionals in best private hospitals in London. We specialise in helping patients who expect the highest standards in personalised healthcare and state-of-the-art diagnostic and medical technology.