Heart-trouble baby saved by snap for the family album

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A baby with a rare heart condition was saved when a trip to a professional photographer showed up tell-tale signs that he was seriously ill.

Parents Neil and Fran Davies booked the session to get snaps of their son Danny when he was just a few weeks old.

The infant had appeared the picture of health when he was born and no one was too worried that he looked slightly purple, assuming he was simply a bit bruised by his arrival.

But on the pictures his parents noticed the purple blotches on Danny’s skin had got worse and his hands and feet looked almost blue.

This sparked a chain of events that ended in life-saving treatment at Southampton General Hospital, where baby Danny was diagnosed with pulmonary atresia with ventricular septal defect (PA-VSD).

After the photo session, Mrs Davies mentioned her concerns to a community nurse who sent them to their GP to get Danny’s oxygen levels checked.

The doctor’s surgery had only an adult’s machine available so when Danny’s oxygen levels were reading 50 per cent – when you would expect rates of 97pc or over – everyone assumed it was because it was not a children’s device.

To be on the safe side, he was then sent to St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester so a proper test could be performed and, after two hours of trying to get a normal reading was sent to the paediatric cardiac centre at Southampton General Hospital.

Mrs Davies, from Felpham near Bognor Regis in West Sussex, said doctors told them Danny had a very rare congenital heart condition and was critically ill. “He was struggling to get oxygen around his body and we were told the next 24 hours were critical. In fact we were told that if we’d taken 15 minutes longer to get to Southampton, Danny might not have made it.”

Danny was in theatre for more than 10 hours as doctors tried to deal with the rare congenital malformation of the heart.

It was a nail-biting time for Mrs Davies, 23, and her husband, 22, a mechanic. “The doctors said the next 24 hours were critical and that Danny’s life was at risk,” said Mrs Davies.

He was put on a machine giving both cardiac and respiratory support for seven days, then remained in hospital for another four months, undergoing further surgery.

Finally, in October 2010, Danny was allowed to return home. He is now two, has a little sister called Sky and has a new home more suited to his care.

But he has now undergone a further 12 procedures and will need to come to the cardiac ward at Southampton throughout his life.