A family's thanks to Royal Brompton

On the 16th August 2013, we were absolutely delighted by the birth of our grandson Thomas. However, our celebrations were short-lived as it became apparent that Thomas was very unwell.

The results of tests at the local A&E department revealed a very serious condition, and Thomas’ parents Louise and Stuart were given the devastating news that their beautiful baby had an undetected congenital heart disease, Transposition of the Great Arteries (TGA) and Atrial septal defect (ASD) a hole between the chambers of his heart. As it transpired Thomas was lucky to have the ASD as it had kept him alive for the first week of his life!

Immediate arrangements were made to transfer Thomas to Royal Brompton Hospital. This was done by the unsung heroes of the Children's Acute Transportation Service (CATS), comprising of consultants, nurses and technicians, essentially an intensive care unit on wheels (pictured left)… An amazing service!

Thomas was admitted into Royal Brompton ICU where the incredible staff cared and nursed him. Surgery was scheduled for 8 weeks as his heart would be significantly larger and improve the chances of a good outcome. His condition deteriorated and surgery was brought forward. On 2nd October 2013 at the age of 6 weeks, Thomas was taken to theatres for his life-saving surgery.

The surgery lasted 8 hours, far shorter than anticipated, but before Mr Ghez said a word his body language and smile told us the operation had gone well, it was one of those emotional moments that will last forever!

The expectation had been set that it would be a slow recovery, probably several months many of which would be in intensive care. The reality was that following his surgery Thomas’ recovery was simply amazing and Thomas went home within 2 weeks.

Thomas’ parents and the entire family were catapulted into a world of unbelievable heartbreak and stress. A world that no family ever chooses to be part of but one which you find yourself in. It’s a world where you meet incredible people that leave an imprint on your heart.

As a result of the superb care of the nursing staff and the unbelievable skill of the surgeons, Thomas is a healthy, fun-loving 5-year-old who leads a full and active life and is now playing rugby too!

How do you say thank you to the people that saved your grandson’s life? No words or actions will ever be enough. We will be eternally grateful to the incredible work of Royal Brompton Hospital.