A BABY has returned home after a whirlwind week in which he was airlifted for life-saving surgery.
Michael Amos was left in a critical condition when his rare liver condition deteriorated, leaving him with internal bleeding.
His mother, Lauren Wallace, 29, said the one-year-old had “less than a bottle of Coke’s worth of blood left in his whole body” before he was flown from hospital in Whitehaven for an emergency operation in Birmingham.
Michael, from Little Clifton, near Cockermouth, had been faced with the option of a four-hour journey by road until the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) flew one of its aircraft to help on Wednesday last week (MARCH 6).
With the charity’s Pride of Cumbria aircraft already occupied at a double road traffic collision on the A66 near Cockermouth, GNAAS despatched a second aircraft from Durham Tees Valley Airport near Darlington.
They arrived at Whitehaven just 35 minutes later. After loading Michael and Lauren onto the aircraft, they flew to Birmingham Children’s Hospital. The flight took 1hr 5mins. By road, the journey would have taken nearly three hours longer.
Ms Wallace said: “I was petrified. I crumbled. I cried. But I knew it had to be done.”
After arriving at Birmingham Children’s Hospital, Michael was stabilised and monitored overnight and operated on the following day.
“It went brilliantly,” Ms Wallace said. “They stopped the bleeding, they drained the fluid and they carried out the other procedures. It went perfectly.”
Michael, who has a type of liver disease called portal hypertension, has returned to Cumbria to continue his rehabilitation, though he is likely to need additional operations every four to five weeks.
Ms Wallace said that although there was no cure for Michael’s condition as yet, the latest surgery would buy time. “It’s the first step and it will allow us to step back and see what needs to be done next,” she said.
Chris Amos, Michael’s father, originally from Egremont, has set up a fundraising page on Facebook to raise money for GNAAS, which is entirely dependent on donations to survive.
She said: “I can’t thank them enough. As soon as they landed they were right on it. If it wasn’t for the air ambulance, he could easily have had a big bleed and deteriorated even more.
“They didn’t leave him once. Even when we were being transferred from the landing site to the hospital, they were there. I just want say thank you for everything.”
Grahame Pickering, MBE, GNAAS chief executive, said: “This critically ill child needed urgent surgery in Birmingham. Speed mattered, but so did the level of care on the way. We have doctors on board our aircraft, so Michael’s care was able to continue throughout the journey. It was seamless.
“We are just happy we could help and absolutely thrilled that he has come out of his operation well.
“We are more commonly associated with major trauma road traffic incidents but we are the only available paediatric air ambulance transport in the region so this kind of transfer is not uncommon, sadly.
“We will be keeping in touch with Michael’s mum and dad and hope to welcome them to our base in happier circumstances in the future.”
To donate to Mr Amos’ fundraising page, visit bit.ly/AirliftMichael
GNAAS relies on public donations to keep flying. Last year the charity needed to raise £5.1m. To find out how you can help, please visit www.gnaas.com or call 01768-899150.