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Evelina London nurse's son saved by her hospital

14.04.16 Categories: Staff stories, Supporter stories,

‘It’s so much more than a hospital. They helped us make it our home, and they welcomed us with open arms.’ Carly Peck, London Marathon fundraiser

Staff member Carly Peck is running the London Marathon for Evelina London because they saved her son Patsy’s life. As a mother, she is so grateful to the wonderful team at the hospital for performing an emergency tracheostomy after Patsy had suffered from breathing difficulties since birth.

‘Mother’s instinct told me something was wrong,’ Carly says. ‘And, because of my job as a nurse, I also knew he wasn’t breathing properly. It was stressful to have been turned away so many times.’

Carly had taken Patsy to her local hospital on ten occasions but, because it is very common for children to have a floppy windpipe, no problem was detected. Patsy was eventually taken on to Mountain ward, and then he stopped breathing. After doctors had looked down his throat with a camera, they realised that his airway was just 2mm wide – they couldn’t believe that Patsy was still alive.

Patsy had an emergency tracheostomy, where an opening was created in his neck and a tube inserted to allow him to breathe. Patsy, now two, lives with his tube and is just like any other little boy.

Carly and her children, Ivy and PatsyThree months on the ward

They had to stay on the ward for three months, where they found they were treated just like family.

‘There was such a personal family feel,’ says Carly. ‘Because Patsy was a long-term patient, there was a team of nurses who looked after him. They took the time to remember who’d worked with Patsy before, and made sure he had a familiar face with him all the time. We never got overlooked, despite how long we were there, and, if anything, they took even more care to make sure our needs were met.’

Carly is an anaesthetic nurse at Evelina London, but when Patsy was first admitted they didn’t know that he was the son of one of their own.

‘I didn’t have special treatment because I’m staff. It truly is an amazing place and I’m honoured to work there. They weren’t aware of my relationship to the hospital until Patsy had his tracheostomy, and their effort and kindness shows what an amazing hospital it is, and what incredible people they have working there.’

Making a terrible time bearable

As a family, it’s so difficult to deal with a situation like this where you are worried your child might not make it, but it all happened so fast that before they knew it, everything was over. Carly’s husband was at home looking after their six-year-old daughter Ivy (who was four at the time), and by the time he could make it to the hospital, Patsy’s tracheostomy had already been successful.

‘It was the worst time of our lives, but Evelina London made it bearable. Something that could have torn us apart has actually brought us much closer together, and it was all due to the support that we were given. The staff encouraged us, and gave us the confidence to believe that we could deal with Patsy’s condition.

‘He doesn’t talk or make any sound because the tube is above his vocal chords and no air can pass through. It’s quite a severe condition, but he’s a very happy boy and has no other problems at all. It’s amazing! We just live life with him having a trachy.’

London Marathon fundraising

Doing a challenge like taking part in the London Marathon can be a great way to show your appreciation for care that your loved one has received at the hospital.

‘I’m doing the marathon for Evelina London because they saved Patsy’s life,’ says Carly. ‘If you’re passionate about what you’re fundraising for, that rubs off on others. People are very caring and when they have taken the time to read your story or listen to you, they donate. Just get out there and make people aware.’

Patsy has operations every eight weeks which makes fundraising a bit more challenging, but Carly has made great progress towards her target by using social media and spreading the word about her challenge and why she’s doing it.

Images: [top] Ivy and Patsy [below left] Ivy, Carly and Patsy