AT JUST three days old, Ethan Doyle, who had been starved of oxygen at birth, displayed an amazing will to live.
The odds were stacked heavily against Ethan, who had to be resuscitated immediately after he was born because there was a knot in the umbilical cord.
He was rushed to the neo-natal intensive care unit at Princess Anne’s Hospital, Southampton, when he was just two minutes old.
His parents, Sean and Lauren, from North Baddesley, were told Ethan had severe brain damage and had very little brain activity, due to the trauma he suffered.
Ethan underwent hypothermia treatment – during which his body was wrapped in a cooling suit to bring down his body temperature to prevent further cell damage – and he was put on a ventilator to help him breathe.
“On day three, we were told we had to make a decision about whether we wanted to carry on, or whether we would like to withdraw treatment, as Ethan was extremely poorly and was likely to be severely disabled,” said Lauren. “We made a decision and spent what we thought was going to be our last night with Ethan.”
Their son had other ideas. “Ethan pulled his ventilation tube out himself. He then kept breathing for himself from that moment and was becoming stronger and stronger,” said Lauren.
After five weeks, Ethan was allowed home.
Unfortunately, Ethan, now 19 months old, has been diagnosed with severe Distonic Cerebral Palsy, after contracting a Group B Streptococcus, also known as Strep B, infection.
He has difficulty with movement and has a swallowing disorder which means he has to be fed via a tube.
“He is an absolute joy and is such a happy little boy. We can’t imagine life without him and although we have some very difficult times, we absolutely adore him,” said Lauren, 24, who works part-time in the customer services depart of Radian Housing. Dad, Sean, 27, has come out of the army after eight years, during which he completed a tour of duty in Afghanistan, to help care for Ethan. Sean, who was a mechanic with the REME (Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers), has recently retrained as a gas engineer.
When he is two or three years old, Ethan will be given an MRI scan to find out the full extent of the damage to his brain sustained at birth.
Before that, he will undergo an operation to fit a gastric valve, which will allow food to be pumped straight into his stomach.
Since leaving the neo-natal unit, Lauren and Sean say they have received tremendous from the hospital’s family support officers.
Now, to say thank you to the medics, the Doyles have organised a charity disco in Romsey on February 1 in aid of the Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit.
“We really want to raise money for the unit, as without the team and all the equipment, our little boy wouldn’t have stood a chance. We want to give something back to them and help other families that have difficult times ahead,” said Lauren.
The disco, at the Crosfield Hall, will feature a performance by soul singer, Olu Shola and there will be a raffle with prizes, including a pennant signed by Saints footballers.
Tickets, which are selling fast, cost £10 each and are available through Lauren and Sean, on 07950 279942, or from the Hunters Inn or the Bishops Blaze.