The 'miracle' boy with one lung who was given 24 hours to live
PUBLISHED: 16:57 08 March 2019 | UPDATED: 18:56 08 March 2019
A former nurse whose 'miracle' grandson was given 24 hours to live after being born with just one lung has organised a fundraising event to support the special care baby unit that saved him. KAREN BETHELL reports...
Their world fell apart when they were given the worst news any parent could ever hear.
Megan and Grant Morris were told their baby Harry had just 24 hours to live.
But the boy born with one lung pulled through.
He is now a happy and healthy four-year-old, living with his parents and younger sister Florence in Costessey.
To thank the people who saved his life and to help other families, his grandmother Sandra Telford is hosting a fundraising event.
It will raise cash for the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), where Harry spent the first few months of his life.
Mrs Telford, 55, who lives in Sheringham, said: “We were devastated.
“He was on life support and, although we knew he might not live, to be told we had only 24 hours was just awful.”
Harry was born with a hole in his diaphragm, which meant his organs were squashed up into his chest and only one lung developed.
Known as congenital diaphragmatic hernia, the rare, life-threatening condition was spotted by doctors when Mrs Morris was 20 weeks pregnant.
He was injected with drugs while still in the womb but, shortly after being born, his family were told to come and say their goodbyes.
His parents decided to have him christened in hospital but, battling to keep Harry alive, doctors rushed specialist equipment to oxygenate his blood from Leicester Royal Infirmary and, miraculously, the tot’s condition began to improve.
He was quickly taken by ambulance for treatment at Great Ormond Street Hospital, in London.
“It was the scariest thing in the world,” Mrs Telford remembered. “Watching this tiny little thing go into an ambulance with all these tubes coming out of him and not knowing if we would ever see him again was just terrible.”
At four-weeks-old, Harry was give an operation at Great Ormond Street to repair the hole in his diaphragm, and, although still being fed by tube and needing help to breathe, he was soon well enough to be returned to Norwich, where he spent three months in the NICU and a further few weeks in the Jenny Lind children’s department before being allowed home.
Despite having just one lung, Harry continued to thrive.
He hit all his childhood milestones and now enjoys visiting Mrs Telford and his paternal grandmother Theresa Ward, and playing with his little sister – who was named after the consultant who treated him.
He is also an enthusiastic member of his local pre-school group and enjoys watching his favourite TV show, Peppa Pig.
“Harry probably won’t ever play strenuous sports like rugby, but, looking at him now doing all the things children should do, it is an absolute miracle,” Mrs Telford said. “It is just heart-melting and so special as it is something that we never thought would happen.”
Keen to support other families with sick and premature babies, Mrs Telford came up with idea of organising a fundraising event.
“I wasn’t brave enough to jump out of a plane so I decided to have my head shaved and things just went on from there – once I had made the decision there was no stopping me,” she said.
After setting up a fundraising page, Mrs Telford, who now works as a nail technician at a Sheringham hair salon, almost doubled her £200 target within a week and is hoping to top the £500-mark, with the cash going to the NICU via the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital NHS Charitable Fund.
Mrs Ward, who also lives at Sheringham, said: “I think Sandra is really brave to have her head shaved, but it is in a very good cause as, if it wasn’t for the NICU, Harry wouldn’t be here.”
Mrs Telford will be hosting a family disco with a teddy tombola, a sponsored head shave and a raffle on May 26 in the club house at the Forest Park caravan site, Northrepps, with her head shave happening at 3pm.
Raffle prizes and soft toys for the teddy tombola can be left at the Trading Post, Sheringham, or to make a donation, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/sandra-telford2
Affecting only one in 2,000 babies, diaphragmatic hernia is an rare and life-threatening condition, with 85pc of those diagnosed antenatally dying before birth or shortly after delivery.
The condition is characterised by a hole in the diaphragm measuring between one and several inches, causing the intenstines, and sometimes the stomach, to enter the chest cavity, leading to restricted lung growth.
Most babies born with the condition, which can be associated with other abnormalities, need support to breathe at birth and, if this is not successful, many die within hours.
Surgery to repair the diaphragm is usually carried out at the age of two to three weeks and involves stitching the hole or repairing it with a patch.
The cause of the condition is unknown and, while some babies experience no long-term effects, others grow up suffering from chronic lung problems resulting in recurrent respiratory infections.