Home | Breaking News | “I was told to say goodbye”: Mum tells how brave toddler born with SIX major heart defects survived against the odds
Baby was given '30 minutes to live' but beat the odds to survive Michael Traill

“I was told to say goodbye”: Mum tells how brave toddler born with SIX major heart defects survived against the odds

WT24 Desk

A MUM has told how her daughter was given just 30 minutes to live after she was born with SIX major heart defects, The Sun reports. On the surface Brooke Docherty was just like any other healthy baby until suddenly, at nine days old, her lips turned blue, prompting mum Kierran Reid to rush her to hospital.

The devastated mother was told to say goodbye to Brooke, now 15 months old, as according to doctors she was the “sickest baby to come through Raigmore Hospital in a long time”. Miraculously Brooke pulled through her heart surgery, but during recovery she suffered several setbacks.

Her lungs collapsed more than 10 times and she was so poorly doctors had to drill fluid into her bones to stop her organs shutting down. Kierran, from Inverness, said: “It was like a scene from a film. As soon as I saw the drill meet her leg, I fainted. “I couldn’t believe what was happening. It was totally out of the blue.

“We had her at home for six days and she seemed fine, like a normal newborn. “We had photos taken of her just 24 hours before and she was lovely and pink. “Then I was told she only had 30 minutes to live and I was taken through to say goodbye to her. I was in complete shock.”  The 23-year-old admitted she didn’t grasp the seriousness of Brooke’s condition at first, thinking they would be “home by lunchtime”.

But when the pair arrived at A and E, Brooke’s body turned limp and grey and she had to be resuscitated.  Kierran said: “I have never seen anything so awful.” Initially doctors thought Brooke had pneumonia but scans revealed the youngster had six major heart defects. While medics consulted with experts across the country to decide if she was fit for surgery, Brooke was pumped full of drugs to buy her time.

Less than twelve hours later, at just 11 days old, Brooke was air-lifted to a hospital 200 miles away and underwent a risky 12-hour operation.  Kierran, who followed by car, said: “I was devastated I couldn’t go with her. But there was no room with all the equipment and medical staff.  “I gave her a teddy and a kiss and said goodbye, and pleaded with her to keep fighting.”

Her heart, which was the size of a walnut at the time, had to be stopped as surgeons attemped to correct the problems. They widened her aorta – the main artery that supplies blood to the rest of the body – closed two large holes, repaired her short aortic arch with a piece of Gortex and fixed and widened a deformed valve.

Her repaired heart was so swollen after the operation surgeons kept her chest open for the following few days. Her dad, Barry Docherty, had to be told the devastating news over the phone as he had gone off-shore the previous day.  While being treated in intensive care Brooke’s tiny body doubled in size due to the drugs, making her barely recognisable.

Kierran admitted: “I said, ‘that’s not the baby I gave you’.  “She was so swollen and she was surrounded in drip stands with multiple drips on them.  “They even had to hang them on the end of her incubator, she had so many.”  Keirran explained doctors had “never seen a case like it”, adding: “They didn’t know how to deal with it.

“She’s now got 28 scars in total from her open heart surgery and all the drains they needed to put into her chest.”  During her recovery Brooke had to be fed by a tube for 50 weeks and also survived several blood clots which endangered her life.  She will need another operation in the future, but her parents are delighted to have their baby back home.

Kierran said: “We were told that if we had waited for an ambulance to come instead of just taking her the five minute drive to A and E, she wouldn’t have made it. “She’s meant to be here.  “She has fought every obstacle in her path and on her first birthday she came off all her medications.  “She’s such an inspiration and I’m so proud to be her mum.”

Kierran is supporting Yorkhill Children’s Charity’s pledge to boost its cardiology fund at the new Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow to help save more babies like hers. “I’m just in awe of these people.  “They’re just amazing and without Yorkill, Brooke wouldn’t be here today.”

To donate £5 to the fund, text YORKHILL to 70555 or visit www.yorkhill.org.

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