“IT’S a miracle really – what they did was amazing.”
The words of proud father Ben Wray, 22, describing how doctors switched the arteries of baby son Oliver’s heart – which were the wrong way round – in an eight-hour operation when he was just two weeks old.
Oliver’s condition, which restricts oxygen circulation around the body, was diagnosed when a team of Leeds cardiac specialists visiting Chesterfield Royal Hospital saw him in the special care baby unit.
He had been placed there over concerns something wasn’t right at birth but parents Ben and Sarah Kettle, 21, never imagined he had the rare defect.
“The doctors said it could be cured but we needed to act quickly,” said primary school teacher Ben, of High Street, New Whittington.
“We were lucky really that the cardiac team were there.”
Oliver – a bouncing 16 weeks old today – was taken to Leeds General Infirmary for an initial keyhole operation to allow better blood circulation.
Two weeks later he went under the knife again, with a mechanical heart used as surgeons reversed his transposition of the arteries.
Said Ben: “It was terrible for us but Oliver is fine now.
“I think we could have taken Oliver home and he wouldn’t have lived many days, if they’d not switched it, because he wasn’t a normal colour, he was doing all the normal things but was a blue baby because the blood wasn’t circulating.
“He’s doing really well, he’s got to go back for a check-up at six months.
“It’s a miracle really – what they did was amazing.”
Oliver’s worried parents were given a lifeline as they kept vigil for three weeks thanks to the Sick Children’s Trust, which provides ‘home from home’ accommodation for families whose children are receiving hospital treatment for serious illnesses.
A fundraising event at The Britannia Inn in Brampton, where Oliver’s grandad John Wray is the landlord, raised £1,700 for the trust.
Ben said: “My priority was Oliver but the house was something that was there, that you take for granted at the time, but when you think back if it hadn’t been there we wouldn’t have been able to stay as we did.”
The Wrays also thanked family, friends and work colleagues for their support.
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