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NETS Cot: Samuel’s Story

Your support will make a huge difference to the lives of sick children like Samuel.

Samuel’s mother Martina was 20 weeks pregnant when she went in for a scheduled scan. She was on her own without her husband Dan, expecting the ordinary update she’d received with their older children. “Getting the diagnosis, it came as a crushing shock,” she remembers.

The scan revealed Samuel had a heart problem and an urgent ECG confirmed it. The position of the arteries in his heart was reversed. They were pumping his blood the wrong way. His body couldn’t get the oxygen it needed. He also had at least one hole in his heart.

Martina and Samuel in hospital.

His parents were thrown into a whirlwind of worry about what Samuel was about to go through.

As a tiny vulnerable newborn, he would need open heart surgery. His treatment would entail a lengthy stay at Perth Children’s Hospital, one hour away from their home. They couldn’t imagine how their older children would cope if the family had to split up. Benjamin was three and Miriam just 18 months old.

Martina and Dan felt a mix of joy and apprehension when Samuel was born naturally at King Edward Memorial Hospital.

The following day he was transferred to Perth Children’s Hospital NICU via a Newborn Emergency Transport Service ambulance – fully equipped with intensive care equipment, funded by Foundation donors. Watching him being loaded in, his mum and dad were grateful for this service that people like you helped us fund. It also hit home hard just how sick he really was.

The day of Samuel’s surgery was another agonising experience.

“He was fairly stable and hadn’t deteriorated, he seemed a fairly healthy child but I had to hand him into surgery,” remembers Martina. “That was obviously incredibly emotional.”

Samuel went into heart failure and had to have a second surgery. We didn’t even see him beforehand because it was such a mad rush. We were preparing ourselves to say goodbye to our precious baby.

Their dread intensified when Samuel, after already enduring so much, had to immediately have a third surgery. In total his tiny, frail heart was stopped for six hours and he was on life support for five days. But this last operation was successful and his heart function quickly improved.

“It was a massive relief every day as more cables were removed from Samuel and he started getting better,” remembers Martina. “I remember feeling I could finally breathe again.”

Samuels sister Miriam and brother Ben enjoying the Fun on Four recreation area at Perth Children’s Hospital.

“Also we were able to stay together as a family that whole time, we were given accommodation on level 5 in the hospital. It was very different to our normal lives but it gave us some normality. We literally went every day to the Fun on Four play area funded by donors to the Foundation. In the afternoon one of us would take the kids. That was great, it was a welcome distraction for our family.“

Martina also says that whatever Samuel was enduring in hospital, she always knew he was in the best hands. In the NICU he even had a dedicated nurse monitoring him 24/7.

You may not have been physically present with Samuel in the NICU or the operating theatre, but you were still by his side. Your generosity made things happen for Samuel that wouldn’t have otherwise.

Samuel is now six months old and doing well at home. But he may require further surgery to address the hole in his heart, a leaky valve and a narrowing artery.

You can help support children like Samuel by making a donation today. Your support will help fund more up-to-the-minute equipment like the NETS ambulance, the highest standard of staffing and expertise, complementary services like Fun on Four and research so the latest findings can inform care of our precious children.

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