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Child given hours after being born with ‘lifeless bowl’ defies medical doctors

A untimely child who was anticipated to die a number of hours after being born when surgeons found she had a lifeless bowel has made a full restoration towards the percentages, together with her mom saying “we have been crying joyful tears ever since”.

When Deborah La Spina, 36, a advertising and marketing specialist from Sutton, London, gave start, all the pieces appeared regular – however after a number of hours, her child, Connie, now six months, started vomiting, needed to be resuscitated and was rushed to the closest youngsters’s specialist hospital.

The hospital, St George’s, was the one one within the UK that would perform an emergency process which might save Connie’s life.

After “being in the suitable place on the proper time”, Deborah and her husband Dominic’s journey with Connie didn’t get any simpler – after a number of surgical procedures, IV drip feeding and three months in hospital.

Earlier than Connie was born, antenatal scans revealed she had an stomach cyst, which Deborah and Dominic have been advised to not fear about – little did they know, it could turn into life-threatening.

Connie was born one month early, on July 27 2022, at St Helier Hospital, London – all appeared properly, and her dad and mom have been overjoyed with their new arrival.

Deborah stated: “The examiner advised me that the cyst hasn’t brought about her any bother, so I used to be vastly relieved and I breastfed her and she or he fed fantastically.

“However, inside a couple of minutes, she began vomiting – that is once I knew one thing was terribly mistaken.”

A number of hours later, Connie was blue-lighted to St George’s, a specialist youngsters’s hospital in London, after persevering with to vomit and having to be resuscitated.

Deborah defined: “That is once they stated she has some type of an intestinal blockage.

“I did not know the way unhealthy issues have been till they did some scans and stated they wanted to function instantly to take away a small piece of bowel.

“They stated all the pieces ought to be OK, and we’ll be dwelling in a number of weeks.

“So we waved our child daughter, who was just a few hours outdated, off to the theater and we hoped for the very best.

“I had simply given start, so I did not actually know what was occurring. I simply trusted that the medical doctors knew what they have been doing.”


After practically 5 hours, Connie’s surgical procedure was over.

Deborah defined: “The surgeons arrived again, they usually seemed genuinely shocked. They seemed like they’d seen a ghost.

“They defined that issues have been far worse than they anticipated and her gut was twisted, chopping off the blood provide.

“We have been advised that the majority of Connie’s bowl was lifeless and never appropriate with life. We have been terrified.

“I used to be ready for the information of them telling me all the pieces goes to be OK, however that punchline by no means got here.”

The surgeons defined to Deborah and Dominic that the surgical procedure they carried out was unconventional, St George’s was the one hospital that would do it, and they didn’t need to hand over on Connie.

Deborah stated: “The danger was excessive and the percentages have been low. Even when the surgical procedure labored, her high quality of life can be very questionable.

“They tried one thing they would not have finished until they thought there was some hope.

They seemed like they’d seen a ghost

“So whereas we have been deeply shocked, saddened, and terrified, we had one thing to hold on to they usually weren’t telling us this was the very, very finish.

“So we simply clung on to that for expensive life.”

As the times glided by, there was progress – Connie got here off her treatment and ventilator and was moved from intensive care into the excessive dependency unit, the place she was given parenteral diet via an IV drip.

Deborah stated: “She miraculously was solely in intensive take care of one week. After surgical procedure, we have been advised seven days was a essential interval, and if it did not go to plan, she would die.”

Connie improved within the subsequent week, and the medical doctors have been capable of educate her the right way to settle for milk, and did so by feeding it via her abdomen instantly.


Six weeks later, she underwent one other process to take away the tube holding her bowel collectively – which Deborah stated was “the true take a look at to see if all the pieces had labored”.

After issues have been wanting up, only one week later Connie started vomiting once more, and so she had one other surgical procedure to take away much more of her bowel.

Deborah stated: “It was scary, as a result of she was doing so properly. I used to be very nervous, and when she began vomiting, that is when my coronary heart simply sank. It was very, very powerful.

“It was powerful for Dominic too, he was making an attempt to stay constructive I believe for me.

“We needed to keep in mind, at this stage, it was nonetheless simply high quality of life extra so than her precise life.”

The surgical procedure was profitable, and revealed Connie had grown new bowels, which means she could possibly be fed orally.

Deborah defined: “She had recovered higher than anybody had anticipated.

“The surgeons got here out with smiles on their faces.

“As a substitute of her needing years of this parenteral diet to assist her progress, and absorption of vitamins, we have been taking a look at possibly six to 12 months. In order that was an enormous deal.”

A number of days later, after three months of Connie being in hospital and “emotional hell”, Deborah and Dominic might lastly take Connie dwelling.

Deborah stated: “We visualized that day each day.

“Whenever you discover out you are pregnant you visualize strolling out of the hospital with the automobile seat in your hand and watching the husband in entrance of the hospital door.

“It was very totally different from once I walked out of St Helier together with her in an incubator and an ambulance.

“So after we lastly obtained to stroll out of the hospital and put her into the automobile, we simply checked out one another and had only a sigh of aid – we have made it, we have gotten via the hardest, most difficult time of our lives.

“I would not want it on anyone.”

Deborah defined how grateful she was for the staff at St George’s, saying: “We simply could not consider our luck that we stumbled on this staff who’re capable of repair our very sick little child.

“I believe we have been crying joyful tears ever since.”

Deborah and Dominic took Connie dwelling on Halloween in 2022, with none parenteral diet, and have been welcomed by their family members.

She stated: “We drove up within the automobile and Connie’s sister, Peigi, got here operating out.

“We have been lastly a household of 4, we have been capable of start our lives all collectively.

“Our lives had been basically torn aside as a result of we have been within the hospital a lot.

“It was the most important aid, and we’re so grateful for our miracle child.”

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