A TODDLER from Yate is fighting for her life while awaiting a heart transplant – after she came down with a rare form of flu.
Three-year-old Ivie Boulton is currently at Newcastle Hospital awaiting surgery while she fights an infection on her lungs.
She was first taken ill with flu on January 24, after being sick a number of times overnight, and after her parents initially took her to the GP, she was rushed to Bristol Royal Infirmary by ambulance.
Checks confirmed that there was fluid around her heart and as doctors opened her chest to drain it, she went into cardiac arrest.
Her mum Scarlett told the Gazette that Bristol’s specialist cardiology department saved her daughter’s life by massaging her heart back into action.
Ivie’s chest was left open after the operation for around 10 days in case they needed to act again, while they waited to transfer her to a hospital with a transplant unit, with Newcastle’s eventually becoming free.
“I was numb for the first few days, it was a nightmare that I could not wake up from,” said Scarlett. “Every day is life or death, with results of scans coming back almost daily on her heart, lungs and brain.”
Having travelled up north with Ivie, Scarlett and her husband Gavin have been staying at Scott House – free ‘home from home’ accommodation run by The Sick Children’s Trust, a few minutes’ walk from the hospital – who they have praised for their facilities, care and support during the ordeal.
Scott House Manager, Andrew Leadbitter, says: “When a child is seriously ill, it has a significant impact on family life. The Sick Children’s Trust is here for families like Ivie’s to help ease some of the stresses and strains during such difficult times, giving them a ‘Home from Home’ to keep them together.”
Ivie and her parents were joined this half-term week by their other three children, including Ivie’s twin sister Grace, who had been staying with Scarlett’s sister in Wickwar.
Ivie has been kept on life support and an oxygen machine as her lungs are so weak.
Scarlett said: “She is a bubbly little thing, full of life and it is heartbreaking to see her in the condition she is in.
“While they had her on muscle relaxants in Bristol, you can see now how she is struggling and panicking. It is horrific.”
Since arriving in Newcastle, Ivie has developed an infection that has attacked her lungs, pushing back any chance of getting on transplant lists for six weeks while she is given antibiotics.
“If her heart could fix itself it would be a miracle, but they have said it is a long shot,” said Scarlett.
“Right now, we are just hoping her lungs can recover. They have said that if they don’t improve, as they can’t do lung transplants on someone that young, there will be nothing more they can do.”
A special concert is being organised by Redds Dance School in Yate, where Ivie and Grace attend ballet classes, to support the family.
Scarlett said: “The support we have had has been absolutely overwhelming and we cannot thank everyone enough. We have had an unbelievable boost from the messages we have had – the fact that people are willing to help us is such a relief.”
The event will takes place at Chipping Sodbury School on Saturday, February 25 at 2pm, and will bring together dance schools from the area. Tickets are £8 per person on the door.