The parents of a little girl kept alive for 14 months by a machine say she is now looking forward to her best Christmas ever – after getting a new heart.
Brave Beatrix Adamson-Archbold, two, was rushed into hospital with suspected Covid, but was actually suffering from heart failure.
Doctors diagnosed her with dilated cardiomyopathy and after emergency surgery she went into cardiac arrest.
She was then connected to a mechanical heart at Newcastle Royal Infirmary for 14 months while her parents waited anxiously for a transplant.
Now, after being given a new heart, dad Terry Archbold and mum Cheryl Adamson are looking forward to her spending Christmas at home with the family.
The couple, who lost their daughter Isabel in 2018 to an unrelated heart condition, donated her heart for research.
And they have urged other parents to consider donating their children’s organs.
Cheryl, of Burnopfield, County Durham, said: “If you asked someone if they would accept a donated organ, most likely the answer will always be yes, without hesitation.
“If you asked if they would provide the same gift to someone else, this reply can sometimes be met with uncertainty.
“The hesitation grows when it comes to considering your child being the donor of a lifesaving organ.
“When we were asked about donating Isabel’s organs initially I did not want to agree.
“We eventually did agree to donate Isabel’s heart for research and now I have seen how life changing this can be for families I would agree without hesitation.
“It could help save a life.”
Little Beatrix, known as Bea, was rushed to hospital in May 2022 and spent the next 15 months there.
She was kept alive by a machine called a Berlin Heart, which pumped blood around her body for her as her own heart was too weak to work properly.
The tot also endured multiple emergency surgeries to mitigate the risk of blood clots.
Dad Terry said: “There was a meter of pipe between Bea and the machine.
“She had to learn to walk again with pipes coming out from her abdomen dangling between her knees.
“Every time she was out of bed was a risk. You could see the clots hanging on by a thread, she could have had a stroke.”
They were supported by the charity Rainbow Trust, which provides support workers helping families practically and emotionally when a child is diagnosed with a terminal or life-threatening illness.
Their support worker Monica stayed with Bea in the hospital when Terry had to leave.
She would also collect her older sister Eliza, 13, from school, took her to hospital and would help provide much-needed respite during the ark times.
She’d also put Bea to bed in hospital so Cheryl could spend more time with Eliza and attend important school events.
Terry added: “I never wanted to leave Bea. “To have the trust and faith in Monica that I could leave and return to hospital knowing that she would be cared for knowing she was going to have fun was enormous.
“Without Monica Bea would be screaming when we left hospital. With Monica she would wave us off.”
Cheryl added: “Without Monica that time once a week I had with Eliza could not have happened.
“That was the most important thing for me. I was gifted that time with Eliza.
“Monica has been invaluable. She was able to come into hospital and the bond she has built with Bea was incredible.
“She is like family. Unless you have been in that environment you cannot explain to someone what it’s like.
“You’re living everyday with the reality that your child might die. Monica understands this.
“To be able to maintain that bond with Monica has enabled Bea to stop and settle at home because there has been a big transition between coming out of hospital and going home. Monica is that bridge between hospital and home.
“Bea didn’t know what a fridge was before coming home. It is like having a little alien on the moon and then landing back in New York City.”
The family is now backing the charity’s Christmas appeal to help raise much-needed funds and awareness because they say they wouldn’t have coped without it.
Produced in association with SWNS Talker
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