The parents of a toddler who survived three heart attacks and a stroke are planning to raise £40,000 to help pay for life-saving equipment for the hospital where she was treated.
Iain and Denise Page, of Spinney Hill, had to endure a “nightmare” four weeks in July after their 13-month old daughter Willow struggled to fight off a virus which affected the function of her heart.
Willow was taken into Northampton General Hospital on June 27 and was admitted on to the children’s ward with a suspected chest infection. Within the next few hours Willow’s condition rapidly deteriorated to the extent she was given emergency CPR after her heart stopped three times, including one occasion which lasted four and a half minutes.
Willow was transferred to the Glenfield Hospital in Leicester and her parents were told that her heart was functioning at less than a quarter of the expected rate.
Specialist heart consultants decided to put Willow on an ECMO machine, which acts as an artificial lung and heart to oxygenate the blood outside the body and allows a patient’s heart to rest and recover.
Doctors told Mr and Mrs Page that Willow may require a heart transplant but they would wait to see if her heart showed any improvement while she was on the ECMO machine.
After 12 days on the ECMO machine, Willow’s heart began to show signs of improvement and she was moved to a ward in the hospital.
But just 45 minutes later, Willow started violently fitting and she was sedated and put back on a ventilator.
Willow continued to suffer fits for the next 48 hours and Iain and Denise were told that she had suffered a bleed on the brain and it was unclear what affect this may have.
During the next few days, Willow’s condition gradually improved and she was finally able to go home at the end of July.
Her parents have now pledged to raise £40,000 to help pay for a new ECMO machine at Glenfield Hospital.
Mrs Page said: “We can’t praise the care we received at Northampton General Hospital and Glenfield Hospital in Leicester enough.
“The consultants and nurses were all great and I believe Willow wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the nurse in accident and emergency who convinced me to keep her in the hospital.
“The staff at the hospital don’t normally have to deal with a child that ill. It is every parent’s worst nightmare. You do not have any control over what happens to your child and all you can do is stand by and watch. We know how lucky we are. Willow is now doing fantastically well. We are now going to treasure every moment we have with her.”
As a surprise for their friends and family Mr and Mrs Page organised a ‘welcome home Willow’ party on August 10 and decided to get married in the morning before the event.
The event was also attended by Denise’s father, who surprised his daughter by flying over to be at the event.
The couple have set up a charity page called willowsmountain.org.uk and are planning a number of fund-raising events including a skydive in September.