Fakenham parents thank Great Ormond Street doctors for saving their son

Kieran White after his operation at the Great Ormond Street Hospital

Kieran White after his operation at the Great Ormond Street Hospital - Credit: Archant

When little Kieran White came into the world 13 months ago he seemed a perfectly healthy 9lbs baby, to the delight of his parents Chris and Chloe and his older brother Ryan.

Chris and Chloe White with two-year-old Ryan (left) and Kieron who has had an operation to repair a

Chris and Chloe White with two-year-old Ryan (left) and Kieron who has had an operation to repair a hole in the heart. Pictre: Maurice Gray - Credit: Archant

He was a little blue having had the cord around his neck and went to intensive care as a precaution and to get some extra oxygen.

But just hours after his birth Mr and Mrs White, who live in Fakenham, were told by doctors at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital that Kieran had a heart murmur.

Mr White, 29, said: 'We didn't think much of it as they said he should be fine and nine times out of 10 the heart heals itself but they will just keep an eye on it. We were OK with that, we were not overly concerned, and everybody we spoke to and the research we did on it all said the same – that it would heal itself.'

But just a few months later at Christmas the Whites were given the devastating news their baby would have to have open heart surgery to repair a hole in the heart.


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He had been diagnosed with Ventricular Septal Defect, where a hole appears between the two ventricles, the pumping chambers in the heart, and allows the left ventricle to lose blood to the right, causing increased blood flow to the lungs.

At Kieran's routine check they were told that as the hole was healing itself the left side of the heart was enlarging as it was having to work so much harder to pump the blood round his little body.

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The medical team led by Dr Graham Derrick, the visiting consultant paediatric cardiologist from Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH), decided it was putting too much of a strain on the heart and they should operate and put a patch on it, to close the hole.

The hole is closed using open heart surgery and the heart needs to be stopped and opened to repair it. This means that a heart bypass machine has to take over the job that the heart normally does.

The aim of the operation is to make the circulation of blood through the heart and lungs normal.

'We were devastated,' said Mr White.

His wife, who is 25, added: 'Every time he had a heart echo the left side was getting bigger. It was beginning to get very serious, and we were getting extremely worried.

'Kieran was getting tired quickly and we noticed that after playing he was sleeping for about three hours, in the daytime, when previously he would only nap for half an hour. We often stay awake at night with worry.'

After joining the waiting list the family was eventually given Tuesday, May 21, as the date for the operation at GOSH.

Doctors said on Saturday that Kieran is recovering well.

Mr White said: 'Kieran is recovering well and we are so grateful to the medical team at Great Ormond Street. They are so kind and helpful and we want to show our appreciation.

'GOSH has given Kieran a new lease of life and we are so happy. It was a shock when we were first told about Kieran's condition and obviously the worst case scenario has gone through our minds so many times but all the time Great Ormond Street Hospital reassured us that Kieran would be ok'.

According to the National Institute for Cardiovascular Outcomes Research, there were just over 400 VSD repairs carried out nationwide during 2011. Most children are completely back to normal activities within six weeks after the operation and go on to lead completely normal lives.

As last week was part of Heart Foundation Fortnight, Mr White has indicated that they want to raise funds for GOSH to show their appreciation for the care the staff have shown during these traumatic months.

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