Melbourne’s Herald Sun reported on Magdaline’s life changing story

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Herald Sun journalist Grant McArthur reported how two surgeons and two hospitals, in two different countries,  joined with Children First Foundation to help Magdaline

Read how eleven year old Magdaline from PNG can now lead a normal life.

We thank Associate Professor Chris Kimber and Monash Children’s Hospital in Melbourne who provided surgery to remove her colostomy.

Before this Dr Cherian performed heart surgery at Frontier Lifeline Hospital in Chennai India.

Publication: Herald Sun
Date: 29 April 2016
Journalist: Grant McArthur
Photographer: Tony Gough


When Magdaline was born her mother, Wanis was told that she would probably not survive beyond the age of nine. Now eleven, this little livewire from Papua New Guinea has proven the experts wrong with the help of Melbourne charity Children First Foundation.

Magdaline was born with a number of congenital conditions including a heart condition and a spinal defect. She also had an anorectal anomaly and was fitted with a colostomy when she was seven days old. Thanks to Monash Children’s Hospital and surgeon Associate Professor Chris Kimber her colostomy is gone and Magdaline’s life has changed forever.

This surgery was part two of her life changing transformation. Paediatric cardiologists in her native PNG and overseas had reviewed Magdaline’s case and all agreed heart surgery was too risky due to her spinal condition.

She was referred to Children First Foundation in 2008 and case manager Marina Te Maro was determined to help her. After more rejections due to her spine, in 2010 she approached Dr Cherian at Frontier Lifeline Hospital in Chennai where the Foundation had arranged surgery for children in the past.

Initially Dr Cherian was also hesitant, but after several approaches from Children First as Magdaline’s condition worsened, he agreed to operate on the basis that Magdaline’s parents understood it was high risk and on 12 March 2012 Magdaline underwent successful Tetralogy of Fallott repair.

The efforts to find help to remove her colostomy followed and thanks to the generosity of the team at Monash Children’s Hospital and Dr Chris Kimber she underwent surgery on 7 September 2015.

Mr Kimber moved the rectum back to its correct position and rebuilt the surrounding muscles. “This was a challenging operation where a new anus and rectum was constructed ” said Dr Kimber.  “It then required several weeks of adjustment while Magdaline learnt to toilet normally.”

Remarkably, the surgery has worked for her, the colostomy bag is gone, and she is able to toilet normally by herself.

Magdaline returned home to her family in PNG on 28 April and will return to Australia in two years when surgeon Michael Johnson will reassess her for surgery to correct her spinal condition.