Battling toddler is off transplant list

ROAD TO RECOVERY ... 20-month-old Aiden Marshall, and inset, with grandmother Hilda Clayton.
ROAD TO RECOVERY ... 20-month-old Aiden Marshall, and inset, with grandmother Hilda Clayton.

A BATTLING South Tyneside tot has been taken off the heart transplant list and returned home as hopes rise of him making a full recovery.

Twenty-month-old Aiden Marshall was feared to be on the brink of death after a gruelling nine-hour operation at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital just weeks ago.

The tot was suffering from an enlarged heart, and it was failing badly.

Surgeons decided to fit the youngster with a so-called Berlin heart – a device used to help children whose hearts are no longer strong enough to pump blood around their bodies.

The operation proved a success and the Berlin heart was removed after his own cardiac muscles began working by themselves again.

Now Aiden has returned to the home he shares with mum Christine, dad Mark, and big sisters Alisha, seven, and Demi, four, in Bamburgh Grove, South Shields.

It’s a remarkable turnaround and Aiden is also now finally learning to walk.

Christine, 25, said: “He’s been taken off the transplant list and he’s starting to walk from one side of the room to the other.

“There’s a chance he could go back on the list if he deteriorates again, but we are keeping our fingers crossed that won’t happen and everything looks positive. He has to go for scans and blood tests at the Freeman every two weeks, but he’s coming on brilliantly and his medication is being reduced. The tests on his heart have all suggested good improvement.

“His Hickman line (a central venous catheter) has been left in, but that’s to allow easy access to blood and medication. I will find out this week if that can be removed.

“Overall, it’s been brilliant. We couldn’t have asked for things to go better.”

Mrs Marshall said it was a relief for the family to return to “some form of normality”.

She added: “With us spending so much time at the hospital over the summer we haven’t been able to be with the girls as much as we would have wanted to.

“Now the family is all together again, and life is so much easier.

“Mark works offshore and he’s had a lot of time off, and his company has been great, but he’s had to go back to work now.

“That was a big wrench for him, he didn’t want to leave, but he’s got a young family to support.”

Aiden’s grandmother, Hilda Clayton, 51, said: “After what Christine and Mark have been through this year it’s wonderful to see how well Aiden is now.

“Everything is going in the right direction.”

Twitter: @shieldsgazpaul

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