A very special birthday present for Ella
Little Ella McIlroy will enjoy her first birthday at home on Tuesday (25 October) after eight months as a patient at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. And this week her mother paid tribute to the very special care she received from her hospital 'family'.
Ella was born with gastroschisis – a condition that affects around eight babies a year at NNUH – whereby part of the bowel remains outside the body. Her first operation took place within hours of her birth and was followed by three more procedures to remove damaged areas of the bowel.
She was later referred to Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital, where tests revealed she was suffering from a rare digestive disorder that required further medical treatment. She is now enjoying her first solid foods after months of intravenous feeding.
“It was very reassuring for us to have the same team of people looking after Ella from the beginning,” says her mum, Laura Stenning, from Marsham. “Everyone has been fantastic and for quite a long time I thought of NNUH as our home. When Ella spent her first night at home on July 8, it was like winning the Lottery – I was just so thrilled to find her sleeping in her cot the next morning!”
Dietitian Rachel Pereira commented: “Ella was fed intravenously for the first eight months of her life, which meant that she needed to spend every night at the hospital. Introducing normal food was a gradual process and involved a balancing act to ensure that she received the correct nutrients for her needs. At one time I was spending an hour a day doing calculations to create the right mix of ingredients for her intravenous feeds.
“Over the months we got to know Ella very well – she became the ward mascot and everyone loved her because she was such a happy little girl.”
Ella’s surgeon, Mr Kulkarni, clinical director for Paediatrics at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, commented: “Ella was delivered early because we had anticipated problems. From this critical life-threatening situation, one year and four operations later (and after few sleepless nights for me!) I am delighted to see Ella looking so well.
“It is an example of great teamwork between paediatric, surgical, medical and other teams who have achieved this excellent result. It just shows that the children's services at NNUH are geared to take on complex challenges and provide great results.”
Consultant paediatrician Dr Mary-Anne Morris added: “Ella is a remarkable little girl. She needed a highly skilled team of surgeons, paediatricians, nurses and dietitans working together with her parents and the support of many other departments in the hospital. We should be proud of the high level of expertise in this hospital that allowed us to care for Ella’s complex needs. It is a delight to see her doing so well at home with her family.”