Every day at Sydney Children's Hospital, Randwick our young patients battle to recover from injuries and illnesses, with the help of their families and Hospital staff. Your support will helps kids like Chloe and Zach.
When five-year-old Chloe couldn’t shake what appeared to be gastro, her parents took her to their local emergency department. Chloe was checked by the doctor and diagnosed with an ear infection, but suddenly her condition began to deteriorate. She couldn’t open her eyes and became unresponsive.
Chloe was immediately placed in an induced coma and intubated overnight while her anxious parents, Matt and Katie, waited for her to be transferred to Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick. When Chloe arrived at our Hospital she was taken straight for a CT scan. The ear infection had spread to her inner ear and into her brain. It had caused pressure and swelling that was so severe she needed urgent surgery to remove the entire left side of her skull cap.
Defying all odds
“That first night was the longest of our lives, but we knew there was no better place for our little girl,” Matt told us.
Distraught at the thought of losing Chloe, they spent the next 14 days by her side in our Intensive Care Unit (ICU). After an agonising wait, the expert ICU team finally managed to wake her from her coma. Eventually, she started to breathe on her own and was moved to the Neurology ward.
Slowly Chloe began making progress and the swelling in her brain reduced enough for the missing piece of her skull to be replaced. There was a strong chance Chloe could have suffered complete hearing and vision loss, but she defied all the odds. Matt watched in amazement one day as Chloe chatted with her mum on the phone!
Working together on Chloe's recovery
Our dedicated Physiotherapists worked with Chloe every day and eventually she could sit upright by herself, and with assistance, even walk. Soon Chloe’s progress gained more momentum as our Occupational Therapists helped her to get ready to return to school.
After five long months in Hospital, Matt and Katie were finally able to take Chloe home. They were thrilled to have their daughter back with them again.
“We’re over the moon with how Chloe has recovered and we have nothing but praise for the Hospital,” says Katie. “We were always kept informed and knew Chloe had everything she needed, especially the time and attention of the wonderful staff.”
Chloe was treated by many different teams across the Hospital; from the ICU and Neurology ward, to Rehab2Kids. They all worked together to ensure Chloe got the very best possible outcome.
“Chloe recovered amazingly and we simply don’t know how to thank everyone who was involved in her care.”
When Zachary was two years old he contracted a mystery illness. It started with a mild cough and runny nose but three weeks later he was on life support.
As an asthmatic, respiratory viruses hit Zachary hard, but his parents Melissa and David still didn't expect to be racing to their local Emergency Department after his breathing became dangerously shallow one afternoon.
Soon after they arrived, Zachary stopped breathing. The resuscitation team began ventilating him. For Melissa and David, not knowing what was wrong with their little boy was the most frightening feeling in the world.
Zachary was stabilised, sedated and placed in an induced coma. He was transferred to Sydney Children's Hospital, Randwick with an anxious Melissa right by his side.
Fighting the mystery illness
By the time he was admitted to our Hospital, Zachary's body had entered a semi-shut down mode - the body's way to protect vital organs.
The mystery illness continued to aggressively attack Zachary's lungs for a week. Two chest drains were inserted to remove air caught between his ribs and lungs that was making breathing even more difficult for his fragile body.
Then Zachary's doctor delivered the unexpected news to Melissa and David. Their little boy had contracted swine flu. While not serious for most people, Zachary's asthma left him vulnerable to deadly complications.
To save him, our heart surgeons were called to perform a delicate procedure that involved connecting him to a high-tech machine which would do the work of Zachary's weakened lungs, taking the de-oxygenated blood from his body, adding oxygen and pumping it back in.
Day after day, Melissa watched the doctors and nurses care for Zachary and it filled her with confidence and awe.
Zachary spent a total of 104 days in our Intensive Care Unit and moved between inert and semi-alert states.
Zachary smiles again
When Zachary finally woke up he was able to smile his cheeky smile. He spent a further two months in Hospital learning to walk, feed and talk again.
Zachary is now four and still visits the Rehab 2 Kids Unit at Sydney Children's Hospital, Randwick annually to check he is on track.