Mount Elizabeth Hospital, Orchard, Singapore. Photo: Google Maps

A severely ill newborn girl who was abandoned in a Vietnam coffee plantation and later transferred to a Singapore hospital for treatment thanks to a fundraising campaign, was able to attend her full-month party on Wednesday.

Trieu Hoai An, who turned one month old on April 24, was found on March 29 in a plastic bag hanging from a tree. It was thought she had been there for four or five days before a plantation worker heard her cries, the Straits Times reported.

The worker helped get her to Da Lat City hospital in Vietnam’s Lam Dong province, where she was diagnosed with sunburn and severe insect bites. She also had a festering wound in her badly swollen head and was infested with maggots.

Doctors at the hospital explained that there was little they could do and gave the child less than a year to live. The hospital reached out to Trieu Thi Thien Kim, also known as the Venerable Minh Tai, an abess at the Hue Quang temple near Da Lat, who adopted the girl and named her Hoai An.

After intense fundraising efforts through the temple’s charity networks and social media, the abbess secured donations from all over Vietnam totaling around $25,000, and on April 10 she took Hoai An to Singapore’s Mount Elizabeth Hospital for treatment.

In the two weeks since she was admitted, Hoai An has made remarkable progress, according to neurosurgeon Dr Tang Kok Kee, who managed to drain excess fluid from her head twice, resulting in improvements each time.

However, at the moment the specialist is yet to confirm if the baby girl was merely suffering from hydrocephalus, a common condition in premature babies, or the rarer and much more serious condition known as hydranencephaly, in which the brain’s cerebral hemispheres are absent to a great degree and the remaining cranial cavity is filled with cerebrospinal fluid.

Nevertheless, on her “day thang” (full month in Vietnamese) on Wednesday April 24, staff from the hospital, Venerable Minh Tai and her 24-year-old disciple Thien Ngo from Laos organised a party to celebrate and pray for blessings and good fortune for Hoai An.

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