Skydiving dad raises £1,623 for hospital that saved two-year-old daughter's life
- Credit: Mepal dad Chaz Truman's charity skydive to thank hospital that saved life of "warrior" daughter Lydia.
A Mepal dad has raised £1,623 ahead of a charity skydive to thank the hospital that saved his "warrior" two-year-old daughter who suffered a bleed to the brain.
Chaz Robbins, who will jump from a plane at 15,000ft in aid of The Sick Children’s Trust, says he and his partner Katie's "world was turned upside down" when their daughter Lydia suddenly fell ill on October 12 last year.
"She screamed in pain and grabbed either side of her head, she was really sick and within about 15 minutes was unconscious, only waking up to be sick again," Katie said.
After immediately calling for an ambulance the family was taken to Hinchingbrooke Hospital where the "amazing A&E team" discovered that Lydia had suffered a bleed on her brain and that her ventricles were filled with blood.
Lydia was then put into a coma with ventilation and monitors "to keep her as safe and stable as possible" on the transfer to Addenbrooke's Hospital.
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"We had to leave her and travel alone to meet her at Addenbrooke's so that her ambulance could be filled with the doctors and nurses she needed," Katie added.
"I think that journey was the numbest I have ever felt. Our heads were filled with the most terrifying thoughts as our baby was apart from us in seriously critical condition."
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The couple waited for Lydia to arrive and were taken to the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit where they were told she needed immediate emergency surgery to relieve the pressure from her brain.
She was fitted with an EVD (external ventricular drain) to allow the blood to filter out and the brain fluid to regenerate.
Although they waited for nearly four hours "not knowing what was happening to our baby", the couple was given a room at Acorn House with facilities close to the hospital where they could rest.
Their place at Acorn House "became a saviour" as it allowed the couple to "be the best parents and be in the right state to make the best decisions for our daughter".
When Lydia returned from surgery with her drain in her tiny shaven head, the whole night had disappeared and the doctors began to plan the next step into investigating the cause of Lydia's bleed.
CT scans revealed a mass in her head but an angiogram was needed for a clearer picture of what was there. A camera was then fitted into an artery in Lydia's groin that went all the way up into her brain.
"During the angiogram they were hoping the mass they could see was abnormal vessels that they could seal in or remove there and then.
"Unfortunately, it wasn’t that straight-forward. We waited all day whilst the specialist team of neurosurgeons and paediatric surgeons discussed her case with other specialists across the country including Great Ormond Street Hospital surgeons."
Katie describes the verdict - which meant that Lydia now needed complex surgery - as the "most terrifying moment of my life".
She required a full craniotomy so that the surgeons could go in and remove the mass of abnormal blood vessels (one of which had burst to cause the initial bleed) and the multiple aneurisms (blisters) that were attached to them.
"The risks they listed were horrendous, our perfect little two-year-old could be permanently brain damaged or still never wake up at all."
Thankfully, Lydia came out of theatre with successful results that the surgeons had removed all of the mass.
"They were very happy that everything had gone as well as possible - it was the first positive news we had received."
The next day, Lydia had surgery number four, which consisted of another angiogram to double check that all of the abnormal vessels and aneurisms were gone.
This came back clear and the doctors then started to discuss waking Lydia up: "At this point, we were still totally unaware of what condition she would wake up in or if she would be able to wake up at all," said Katie.
"But my girl is a warrior! She was already fighting enough sedation to knock out a fully grown rugby player and fighting the ventilator to breathe by herself.
"The doctors and nurses explained it could take hours for her to come round but she was awake within minutes.
"She was squeezing my hand, moving all of her limbs and gave us that gorgeous little smile we had so desperately longed to see for the seven days she had been asleep!
"Soon after, the family was moved to a room on the children’s ward where her drain was monitored closely.
"We had more complications, sickness, tummy cramps, high temperatures with fears of an infection they never found and Lydia's drain started to leak and had to be removed earlier than first planned," added Katie.
"This was her fifth and final surgery. She struggled to eat for a long time and the neurology team explained how incredibly unluckily it all was.
"But also how lucky where it happened in her brain so the blood filled her ventricle rather than damaging her brain tissue, and the age she was, being able to recover so strong and quickly."
After 25 days of being at hospital, the family was finally allowed home - however Lydia was "still like a newborn, only able to support herself very little, not speaking and rarely cracking a smile".
Within a few weeks of being back home she "went from strength to strength and was soon up walking about, giggling and chatting.
"All her meds were finished and our little girl was back, fully recovered, totally super-powered and astonishing every person that had heard she was unwell, as well as the surgeons and specialists that dealt with her.
Katie added that, had it not been for the "amazing team" of nurses, doctors, surgeons and specialists that cared for her, Lydia would likely not be alive today.
Thanks to their "intelligence, knowledge and the skills they possess, our little girl's life was saved".
Chaz's skydive will take place on Saturday April 10 - the date marks six months since Lydia's bleed and the recovery she has made.
The couple has chosen The Sick Children’s trust to raise money for because they fund Acorn House, which Katie says was "a godsend to us and was clearly the same for every other family we saw there.
"We have donated ourselves but would like to give as much as possible back to the people that saved our lives by saving our little girl."
To donate visit Chaz's GoFundMe page.