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Leah fights bad fever

Leah still in intensive care at Texas hospital

Leah with her mother on holiday in Paris.

Leah with her mother on holiday in Paris.

Two weeks after undergoing major cancer surgery in the US, the three-year-old Maltese girl who has captured the sympathy of the entire nation is still in intensive care, fighting fever and an infection.

“We’re living day by day, hoping tomorrow she’ll be better than today,” Leah’s father Jonathan Xuereb told The Times yesterday.

“When I leave her bedside at 11pm, I rush back at 5am the following day, hoping she’ll take a turn for the better.”

Leah’s doctors are confident that the 12-hour operation to remove a very rare form of stomach cancer was successful and the entire tumour was removed.

But last week her body temperature started fluctuating and on Wednesday the little girl was in “unbearable pain”.

Despite increasing her painkiller dosage, the pain did not subside.

But to the amazement of her parents and doctors, Leah took about 20 steps on Thursday morning.

In the evening, however, the doctors had to remove some bacteria from her abdomen, the father said.

Since then, she has been sleeping throughout the day.

On Friday the fever dropped, but it shot up again the following day. Yesterday, her parents were informed she was suffering from another type of infection. Throughout the ordeal, little Leah has been opening her eyes to acknowledge her parents’ presence and nodding to let them know she was hearing them.

“We were aware these things could happen. But the girl is strong, God help her,” her father said proudly, adding that once the doctors were sure she could eat without any help and was recovering well, they would go to Great Ormond Street Hospital in London for follow-up tests.

“God willing we would spend Christmas with our whole family in Malta, including Leah’s brother, Owen. I have not seen my son for two months and that breaks my heart,” Mr Xuereb said.

Leah will soon turn four, and has spent half her life at hospital away from home.

She underwent the €245,000 operation sponsored by the Maltese Government at the Anderson Cancer Centre in Texas after 16 months of diagnosis and treatment at Great Ormond.

Yesterday her parents Jonathan and Zhana expressed their gratitude for the support they have received from the Maltese people throughout the ordeal.

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