Miracle Baby Have Open Heart Surgery Aged 22 HOURS
Sophie Dring was halfway through her pregnancy when doctors gave her devastating news.
Her unborn child had a serious heart condition and she was advised to consider a termination.
But she was determined to give son Toby every chance. And although he needed a major operation a mere 22 hours after he was born in September, he is now home – and doing fine.
Toby with his mother Sophie had to undergo a life-saving operation lasting 12 hours
Toby is believed to be the youngest baby in the UK to have open heart surgery and one of the youngest in the world. ‘But to me records don’t matter too much,’ said nursery nurse Miss Dring, from Whitby, North Yorkshire. ‘What’s more important is that he’s here – and he’s alive.’
A scan at 21 weeks showed Toby had hypoplastic left heart syndrome, a condition which affects one in 5,000 babies and occurs when the left side of the heart fails to form properly.
Ten week old Toby is the youngest person in the country to undergo open heart surgery
Miss Dring said a doctor at Leeds General Infirmary told her she had three alternatives: ‘Terminate the pregnancy there and then, do nothing and watch him die, or have him and watch him go through all the surgery. Her advice was to terminate because she didn’t want me to go through it all. I was in floods of tears.’ Miss Dring decided to put her faith in surgery. However, she faced being separated from her baby after giving birth because the Leeds hospital did not have the facilities to carry out the specialist operation. After internet research, she decided to place her trust in surgeons 100 miles away in Newcastle upon Tyne. Toby was induced at 39 weeks on September 8 at the city’s Royal Victoria Infirmary and transferred immediately to the Freeman Hospital, where a team led by consultant surgeon Asif Hasan was ready to take over. The newborn baby weighed a healthy 7lb 1oz and doctors had planned to wait a week before operating, but his condition was found to be so serious that he went under the knife less than a day after he was born.‘The operations those surgeons do on such tiny babies is simply amazing, and he was in for 12 hours when they initially thought it would only take six,’ added Miss Dring.‘It was distressing to see him covered in wires when he was brought out of theatre and stabilised, and there were so many machines attached to him.’Toby needs another operation, possibly before Christmas, to fit a cardiac catheter and a second operation when he is old enough to walk. At some stage in his life he will need a heart transplant. ‘It could be in his 20s or 30s, it’s hard to tell,’ added his mother. ‘All that matters is that he is alive. After finding out his diagnosis I never thought I’d be able to hold him in my arms and cuddle him, but here I am and it’s all down to the Freeman Hospital.’ A spokesman for Leeds Teaching Hospitals said: ‘The policy of our cardiologists is always to give families open and honest advice about the options available to them as well as the risks and chances of survival. ‘For unborn babies with conditions like Toby’s there are three options for parents to consider, only one of which is termination.’