Ilford baby bounces back after open-heart surgery

PUBLISHED: 15:00 16 April 2016

Paul Wheeler and Kim Gautier with son Lewis  who has a heart defect

Paul Wheeler and Kim Gautier with son Lewis who has a heart defect


The parents of a 10-month-old baby say they are “overwhelmingly happy” to see him thriving, after doctors warned he might not see his first Christmas.

Four months after open-heart surgery, Lewis Wheeler, of Pretoria Road, Ilford, is recovering well.

Six weeks after he was born in May 2015, he was diagnosed with a heart murmur, but parents Kim Gautier and Paul Wheeler were told not to worry.

Kim, 31, said: “The doctor said it was normal and it often sorted itself out, so we weren’t too worried.”

But in September, he was diagnosed with patent ductus arteriosus (PDA), which causes irregular blood flow to the heart.

Kim said: “I completely broke down when we heard.

“It was like being in a nightmare I couldn’t wake up from.”

Lewis was referred to Great Ormond Street Hospital, a specialist hospital in central London which cares for the country’s sickest children and in December, Kim and Paul took Lewis into hospital for open-heart surgery.

Kim said: “It was very stressful and felt like the longest day.

“He was in theatre for six hours and then placed in an induced coma for three days.”

Although Lewis was meant to stay in hospital for two weeks, after four days he was recovering so well that doctors said the family could return home.

Kim said: “It was a miraculous recovery.

“To hear that he wouldn’t have seen Christmas without the operation was terrifying.

“To open his presents with him, laugh and relax together was amazing. Such a great feeling.

“He’s a normal baby – rolling over, laughing, smiling.

Now Kim and Paul are supporting The Sick Children’s Trust, which provides free accommodation for families.

To find out more about their Big Chocolate Tea fundraising event from April 22 to May 2, click here.

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