Miracle baby goes home for Christmas after critical hospital battle at the Royal London
- Credit: Sick Children's Trust
This miracle baby is home for Christmas after a desperate fight for life—thanks to surgeons at the Royal London Hospital following her birth four weeks prematurely with a deadly condition.
Little Kiara Smith is spending her first Christmas at home with her mum and dad as a family after weeks of anxiety.
She was just two days old when she was rushed 40 miles to the Royal London in Whitechapel from the family’s local hospital at Southend in Essex.
Kiara was born at Southend with suspected bowel infection. Specialists at the Royal London’s Neonatal Intensive Care found she had Hirschsprung’s disease, where nerves controlling muscles in the bowel are missing.
She was in special care for three weeks until well enough to be transferred back to Southend.
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Stephanie Thorn, 24, and partner George Smith, 24, had been given free accommodation at Whitedchapel by the Sick Children’s Trust at Stevenson House, just minutes’ from the children’s hospital to be near Kiara during surgery.
The couple’s home 40 miles from Whitechapel the other end of the A13 meant they had to travel from Rochford every day to be with their baby—until the trust stepped in.
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“Kiara wasn’t feeding for the first two days of her life and wasn’t showing signs of bowel movement,” Stephanie recalled. “Then she was being sick before she had even turned 36 hours old.
“You can imagine how shocking this was for us as first time parents, the instant thud in your chest. Panic, fear and worry hit us all at once.
“It hurt to see how poorly she was—we watched her through the incubator all wired up.
“I knew she was in pain. All I wanted to do was reach out and give her a cuddle.”
But Kiara had to be taken to London for specialist treatment, leaving the couple feeling stranded.
“It felt the idea of being a family was slipping through our fingers,” Stephanie confided.
“Being separated from Kiara was the worst thing in the world, so upsetting travelling to the Royal London to give her a kiss on the cheek every night and then having to leave her there, fighting alone.”
But the couple’s worries being so far from their sick child were soon over when the Children’s Trust which runs Stevenson House put them up in a comfy room of their own with a telephone to be close to Kiara round-the-clock.
Stevenson House supports families with seriously-ill children at the Royal London.
House Manager Alan Booth said: “We’re so pleased to hear how well Kiara is doing and glad she’s spending her first Christmas at home.
“Unfortunately for many families we care for, Christmas will be difficult with their child in hospital. But we make sure they can be there for them when it matters most.”
It costs the charity £30 to support a family for one night, through its fundraising and online appeals.