Meet Willow Page, Brit tot who 'died three times' survives

Updated: 2013-09-23
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Willow Page
Beaten the odds: Days after a stroke that lasted 48 hours, the toddler made an almost full recovery
 
First-time parents Denise and Iain Page were told to expect the worst when their 13-month-old daughter suffered a stroke and three heart attacks in one go.
 
Baby Willow 'died' three times in a hospital ward after contracting what doctors thought was a minor chest infection.
 
The medical team said she would be lucky to survive - and if she did, she would be severely brain damaged.
 
But the stunned surgeons have been forced to swallow their words after the fragile infant made a miracle recovery in just four weeks - and now she is as healthy as any other baby her age.
 
Terrified Denise, 34, and Iain, 39, from Spinney Hill, Northants, rushed their daughter to Northampton General Hospital on 23 June after she was repeatedly violently sick.
 
After an initial scan, medics diagnosed Willow's heart attack as a chest infection.
 
But her condition rapidly deteriorated and just three hours later she had another attack.
 
Her heart stopped for four-and-a-half minutes - rendering her technically dead.
 
Further tests showed Willow had contracted myocarditis - a severe form of heart disease.
 
Most cases of myocarditis are contracted through a virus like mumps, the flu, or a common cold.
 
The muscles of the heart inflame causing anything from a minor chest infection to life-threatening heart disease.
 
Like all viruses, there is no clear treatment for the disease.
 
Surviving against all odds, with only a quarter of her heart functioning, Willow was transferred to the specialist ward two hours' drive away at Glenfield Hospital in Leicester for a heart transplant.
 
The fragile baby, unable to function independently, was put on life support as doctors plan their next step.
 
But the medics changed tact when, after 12 days on an ECMO breathing machine, she seemed to have recovered, so they took her off.
 
However, 45 minutes later, Willow's third heart attack hit, and she started having a stroke.
 
For the next 48 hours she would suffer 25 violent fits, and 'die' twice.
 
Doctors told Mr and Mrs Page their daughter had a bleed on the brain that could kill her or at least cause severe brain damage.
 
Inexplicably, Willow made an almost complete recovery in just a few days.
 
At the end of July - just four weeks after she was admitted - she was able to go home.
 
Mrs Page, who has two older children, said: 'The whole time Willow was in hospital just felt so surreal, we kept thinking that things like this don't happen to people like us.
 
'We were terrified.
 
'She went so quickly from a healthy, happy baby to fighting for her life.

'When she had the first heart attack, we thought that was the worst that could happen - but then to have another two and a stroke was unthinkable.
 
'We started to worry what type of girl we would end up with after all the trauma her body had faced.
 
'We didn't know whether she'd ever be able to walk, or even talk.'
 
Two months later, she is still as healthy as any other 15-month-old baby.

Mr Page, 39, branded his first-born's recovery a 'miracle'.
 
He said: 'My baby is back to the happy little girl she always was, she died three times but still managed to cling on to life - it's a miracle.
 
'She is a little fighter and amazed everyone by pulling through. We are so proud, and feel so happy to have her home.'
 
The delighted couple have pledged to pay for a new £40,000 ECMO machine at Glenfield Hospital.
 
SOURCE: dailymail.co.uk
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