Great Ormond Street Hospital is one of the world’s leading children’s hospitals. It is the leading children’s hospital in the UK, and is the largest centre for child heart surgery in the UK and one of the largest centres for heart transplantation in the world.
When it came to a charity we wanted to support there was no question that this had to be the one. Samantha, (founder of Mother & Nature) spent the first few months of her life there, and wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for the amazing staff, expertise, care and attention she received.
Here is Samantha’s story, told by her Mum;
When Samantha was born at King George V hospital they didn’t diagnose what was wrong with her, she was transferred to Ilford Hospital, Intensive Care where they were able to determine what was wrong. They immediately transferred her to Great Ormond Street and her dad followed the ambulance, I had been operated on and wasn’t allowed to leave the hospital.
Samantha was diagnosed with an Oesophageal Fistula, which meant there was a gap in her trachea, (which is a tube going from your oesophagus to your trachea, which causes air to pass from the windpipe to the oesophagus and stomach, and stomach acid to pass into the lungs). We were told that she had to be operated on fairly quickly (and had to be baptised first in case the worst happened).
The first operation wasn’t successful as there was too big a gap to join up so a tube was put in her tummy so food (milk) could still be given and a tube in your nose to drain saliva because you couldn’t swallow, plus loads of drips to give vital vitamins and fluids.
Feeding was through the tummy and did cause problems as milk and stomach acid sometimes penetrated the barrier around the feeding tube and caused blisters and soreness. Samantha was in intensive care for quite a while in an incubator and it seemed like she was having operations every few days to try to sort the problem out. (During this time a baby boy who was in the incubator near her who had the same as you unfortunately died.)
After a few weeks she was taken out of intensive care and put on another ward where she still continued to have operations to try to connect her oesophagus. At this time she also caught pneumonia.
At about six months she could come home for weekends, but still fed you through a tube in her stomach, on occasions we had to dash back to hospital as she had a habit of pulling the stomach tube out!
When we were finally able to bring her home, we had to be careful as the drainage scars under the arm sometimes leaked fluid. This went on for quite a number of weeks until she was about nine months. After one operation it was discovered that the two pieces of tube had fused together but it was very narrow so the rest of the operations concentrated on trying to widen the oesophagus, done by threading beads on the thin cord that ran down through her nose to her stomach and back in a continuous thread. Even after we moved to Preston we still had go down to Great Ormond Street for checkups to monitor her progress.
The staff at Great Ormond Street were wonderful and took amazing care of Samantha and we are so grateful for everything they did.
As you see, without this fantastic hospital, Doctors and Nurses Samantha would not be here today! As a thank you we will now be donating £5 for every jacket sold. As well as this, there will be some fundraising activities taking place in 2018, so keep a look out for updates, but potentially running a half marathon in the Great North Run!
The hospital has relied on charitable support since it first opened. One of the main sources for this support is Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity. Whilst the NHS meets the day-to-day running costs of the hospital, the fundraising income allows Great Ormond Street Hospital to remain at the forefront of child healthcare. The charity aims to raise over £50 million every year to complete the next two phases of redevelopment, as well as provide substantially more fundraising directly for research. The charity also purchases up-to-date equipment, and provides accommodation for families and staff.