Skipton toddler recovering well after life-saving heart operation

Craven Herald: Hollie Pearson and son George Hollie Pearson and son George

A day trip for a normal family with a healthy toddler can be an organisational headache.

But try it with one who, as well as nappies, spare clothes and a buggy, needs a ventilator, oxygen, a catheter and tracheostomy equipment for his wellbeing.

That’s what 20-year-old Hollie Pearson has to consider loading onto her Silver Cross pram before she sets off anywhere with her son George Hall from their home in Willow Way, Skipton.

He will celebrate his second birthday on Saturday about a year after he underwent lifesaving heart surgery at Freeman Hospital in Newcastle.

He had suffered heart problems from birth and it was his grandmother, Nicola Garbutt, of Lytham Close, Skipton, whose pressure on the medical profession eventually led to his diagnosis of ventricular inversion and successful surgery.

Since his diagnosis, Miss Garbutt has become a trustee of Breathon UK an organisation set up to help families with people who need to use a tracheostomy.

She has also addressed Parliament about the problems facing families like her’s.

Miss Garbutt said: “We get on with life as much as we can like a normal family and don’t worry about taking George out. Some people in a similar position are afraid of that.

“We get loaded up with the medical equipment he needs and set off. He’s been all over the place.

“Hollie has coped marvellously and George has been great. He is learning sign language and will be going to nursery in September.”

George needs a tracheostomy to breathe at night, but the device in his neck has held back his speech.

However, the family is optimistic that as he gets older, the need for the device will diminish and he may eventually be free of it.

“I was frightened at first but I’m ok with it now and George has got used to it,” said Hollie, who is planning to start college in September to train as a nurse.

Hollie, who also has a four year-old son Harvey, is assisted by a carer because George needs to be fitted to the tracheostomy when he sleeps.

George still faces more treatment and in February surgeons will use a camera to examine his airways to see if there has been improvement.

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