By Becca Husselbee
A toddler has made an amazing recovery after battling a series of illnesses and conditions that nearly took his life on three occasions.
Little Theo Bartlett is just three-years-old but has already spent eight months in hospital after battling a heart condition, a bleed on his spleen, and sepsis as doctors told devastated parents, Becky Deeley and Lawrence Bartlett, to prepare for the worst.
Despite his ordeal, Theo is now a happy and healthy little boy but was diagnosed with PTSD in November, 2016, after the trauma of fighting for survival and still suffers episodes of coldsweats and sleepless nights.
Mum, Becky, 22, said: “Theo was a fighter before he was even born.
“Having to hear doctors tell you on three occasions that we should prepare for the worst was heartbreaking but we had heard it so many times that we believe he would pull through.
“Having been through all of that and now being diagnosed with the PTSD was hard but we are slowly getting there.”
The parents, from St Mellon’s, Cardiff, were originally told to terminate their pregnancy at 20 weeks when doctors discovered that the baby would be born with a congenital heart condition, meaning the valve’s in his heart would not be properly formed.
However, the couple decided to carry on regardless, in the hopes that little Theo would pull through, and at 37 weeks the couple were sent to Bristol Royal Infirmary where he was born via c-section.
Becky said: “Doctors told me that the outcome was bleak but after seeing my baby on the screen and feeling him kick inside my tummy, there was no way I could terminate.
“We got to hold him for a few seconds before he was taken away and doctors told us that he may only live a couple of hours.
“We were told to call our family to come to the hospital so we could all be there when it was time to say goodbye.”
Theo’s heart had swollen due to the problem with his valve, meaning it was touching either side of his chest and squashing his lungs, and doctors told the couple that if Theo could prove them wrong they would fight to keep him alive.
Miraculously, Theo pulled through, after spending six months in the hospital and undergoing three open-heart operations, but was taken ill a second time after his spleen split due to drugs intended to stop blood in his heart from clotting.
This nearly caused Theo to bleed to death internally, but surgeons were able to save his life and he was finally able to go home in January 2016.
Becky said: “We were told to say our goodbyes again as he was rushed into surgery.
“The doctors and nurses really helped get us through
Parents Becky, now Theo’s full-time carer, and Lawrence, a 23-year-old gas engineer, thought they had been through the worst but Theo was struck down for a third time in September 2016, when he contracted Sepsis.
“His eyes were glazed over and he started vomiting blood but what was strange was that he was freezing cold to touch.
“We rushed him straight to the hospital and they told us he had septic shock and injected fluids straight into his bone.
“Again we were told to prepare for the worst and he was placed in intensive care with pancreatitis, a perforated bowl and abdominal sepsis.
“We were told to make plans for his funeral but we knew how strong our boy was and that he would give us a sign if he was in pain.”
For a third time, Theo proved everyone wrong, and a week later was in a stable condition in hospital, after undergoing surgery to drain the infection from his stomach and fit a stoma bag.
Theo was eventually diagnosed with PTSD by intensive car doctors after the trauma of nearly losing his life on three occasions and spending so much of his young life in hospital.
But now with the help of doctors and psychiatrists little Theo is slowly recovering and learning to walk with his missing toe as well as taking part in play and speech therapy sessions.
Becky said: “Doctors told us it was very rare for a toddler his age to have PTSD but that they were seeing it more often with children who had spent long periods in hospital.
“He was prescribed Melatonin to help with his episodes, every couple of months or so, and it helps settle him again.
“He is such an independent and energic little boy and he has been through so much.
“After suffering with sepsis the tendon’s in his ankle became tight and he is now waiting to have those cut so he can start walking properly.
“He has been through so much in such as short space of time but he has come on leaps and bounds and we are hoping he will start nursery in September.”