Family thank hospital for live-saving heart op on two day old baby

Thursday 6 April 2023

The family of a little girl born with a rare heart condition has thanked the cardiology team at Evelina London Children’s Hospital for saving her life.

Before birth, six-month-old Daphne was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect known as transposition of the great arteries, where the two main blood vessels leaving the heart are swapped over.

Uncle Paul Farrer, from Walton-on-Thames, said: “My sister Hayley found out at her 20 week scan that Daphne had a rare, congenital heart defect. We knew that Daphne would need specialist heart surgery soon after birth, so Hayley had her antenatal care moved to St Thomas’ Hospital. She had this amazing, positive outlook even after Daphne’s diagnosis.”

Born in August 2022, at just two days old Daphne underwent her first operation to keep a small gap open in her heart, called an atrial septostomy. Eight days later, she had open heart surgery to move the two major blood vessels into the correct place, known as an arterial switch.

Daphne spent two weeks in the specialist children’s hospital, including spending time on the neonatal intensive care unit, the paediatric intensive care unit, and Sky cardiology ward.

Uncle Paul is setting his sights on the TSC London Marathon in 2024 to raise funds for Evelina London Children’s Charity. The 39-year-old completed his first marathon in 2013, and is hoping to complete his next one in under three hours.

Paul said: “After seeing first-hand the amazing and essential work that all of the teams at Evelina London do, I’ve decided to run the London Marathon on behalf of them to show just a fragment of our family’s appreciation for Daphne's continued care.

“So many people have been involved in Daphne’s care, we’d like to thank everyone including Professor Gurleen Sharland, Dr Matthew Jones, Mr Caner Salih, Dr James Wong and Dr Rachel Carnall. To say they've been amazing is a total understatement. They saved Daphne's life and cared for her when she needed it the most! Daphne is now six months old, recovering brilliantly, and won't stop smiling and laughing. Every day she shows her fighting spirit and brings so much happiness to everyone around her.”

Mum Hayley Farrer, said: “I’m so grateful for all the care that Daphne and I received from the maternity team at St Thomas’ and the cardiology teams at Evelina London Children’s Hospital. Everyone was amazing.”

Mr Caner Salih, Chief of cardiac surgery at Evelina London Children’s Hospital, said: “It’s wonderful to see how well Daphne is doing. I speak for all of the different teams involved in her care that we’re extremely thankful to hear about Paul’s future fundraising plans.”

Daphne continues to receive regular check-ups, and will be under Evelina London’s specialist cardiology care until she transitions to adult services.

Children’s cardio-respiratory and intensive care services delivered at Evelina London Children’s Hospital and Royal Brompton Hospital are part of Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust.

The internationally recognised services see around 22,000 children a year and the specialist teams are able to treat a wide range of heart conditions.

Last updated: April 2023

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