Mother pays tribute to tragic tot Harry

A devastated mother last night paid tribute to her baby son who died in her arms on Boxing Day after a 12-day battle.

A devastated mother last night paid tribute to her baby son who died in her arms on Boxing Day after a 12-day battle.

Harry Hicks was given a 50/50 chance of survival after medical staff diagnosed he was suffering from a diaphragmatic hernia while still in his mother's womb.

His mother Victoria, 22, from Pulham St Mary, was offered a termination after she discovered her unborn son's condition during a routine 20-week scan, but said this was something she did not even consider.

Mrs Hicks said that after learning of the life-threatening condition her pregnancy continued normally and Harry was born naturally at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital on December 14, weighing 8lbs.


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“On the outside there was no sign of any problem,” she said. “He looked like any normal baby and had lots of dark hair. I was able to hold him for a couple of seconds before he was placed in an incubator in intensive care.”

A hole in Harry's diaphragm meant his stomach, bowel and liver were being pushed into his chest, resulting in his lungs being squashed and his heart being pushed over to the right.

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Doctors hoped to stabilise him so they could operate, but Mrs Hicks said the following day medical staff decided that Harry needed to be transferred to Great Ormond Street children's hospital in London.

He was flown by the Children's Acute Transport Service (Cats) in an RAF helicopter and Mrs Hicks and her husband Jamie, 30, and their younger son Hayden, 18 months, were driven to the hospital the next day by Mrs Hicks' mother Heather Cooper.

“The paediatricians and the nurses who were caring for Harry were absolutely fantastic,” said Mrs Hicks. “He went downhill and had to be resuscitated at midday on the Sunday. He was put on a machine which kept his heart and lungs functioning and at first showed signs of improvement. The staff tried everything to help him. They wanted to get him off the machine so they could take him to surgery.”

But Mrs Hicks said that despite his fighting spirit Harry started to go downhill on Christmas Day after developing a blood infection.

“We had been put up in a flat at the hospital so we could be near Harry and at about 4am on Boxing Day we had a call to say he wasn't looking very good,” she said. “We went down to speak to the paediatrician and were told that Harry might only have a couple of hours to live. I was distraught. It was what we had been prepared for but didn't want to happen.”

Mrs Hicks praised medical staff for their efforts, adding: “The hospital arranged for the chaplain to christen Harry. Even then the doctors were still doing tests to see if there was any more they could do. He was such a little fighter and wasn't going to give up easily.”

Mrs Hicks said that eventually the heartbreaking decision was made to take Harry off the machine keeping him alive. “I was able to cuddle him and he passed away in my arms. He was loved by everyone and is sadly missed.”

As well as praising medical staff, Mrs Hicks thanked Rackham's Funeral Service for going to London to pick up the necessary paperwork following Harry's death.

She said her husband, her brother Adam Cooper and her brother-in-law Kevin Lees were planning to do a sponsored parachute jump later this year to raise money for Cats.

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