May 25 2013 Latest news:
By Adam Gretton, Health correspondent
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
When Harry Jeckell was born, doctors told his family that his life was in the balance because of a rare intestinal condition.
Within 12 hours, he was rushed into surgery to have the majority of his bowel removed to save his life. The little boy, who defied medical opinion after being diagnosed with multiple atresias following his birth, has spent hundreds of nights in hospital and has undergone 19 operations.
Now the Norwich City season ticket holder from Horsford, near Norwich, is looking forward to entering adulthood next week when he celebrates his 18th birthday.
His mother Kathy Carter, 49, said they never expected Harry to celebrate his first birthday after he was born six weeks early at the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital weighing 5lb 11oz on March 20 1995.
Harry’s 22ft bowel was cut to 32cms as a result of two major operations in his first two weeks of life.
Mrs Carter said: “We never dreamt Harry would turn 18-years-old and I’m sure truth be known non of the doctors and nurses did either. We did not know until he was one month old that he would survive because his bowel did not work until then. To survive with 32cm of bowel is unbelievable - 30cms is seen to be the minimum amount needed to live a normal life. It was new for the doctors and we all learned together.”
“But here is today an inspiration too so many, a happy loving young man, who is loved and admired by so many people.”
Harry, who is profoundly deaf and has severe learning difficulties, has been in and out of hospital during his childhood with peritonitis, unforeseen problems during routine surgery, and chemical imbalances in his body causing him to have severe fits. He has also had internal bleeding and in the last year been diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis.
Harry is enterally fed via a mini button in his stomach during the day and night.
Mrs Carter said her son’s survival had been thanks to the excellent care of Thomas Tsang, consultant paediatric and neonatal Surgeon at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and staff at the Jenny Lind Children’s Hospital at the N&N.
“People are quick to knock the NHS, but we wanted to say the biggest thank you to everyone who has helped Harry become the wonderful young man he is today. When Harry goes into hospital everyone stops to say hello and everyone knows him. They are all wonderful,” she said.
Turning 18 starts a new road into adult care for Harry and his family have a personal health budget to pay for his support plan with respite and education.
He will no longer be able to go to the Squirrels respite centre in Aylsham and his family are applying for him to go on a course at Assist in Norwich, which will teach him independent living skills.
As Harry prepares for adult life, his family hope he can secure a part-time job as he learns to become more independent.
Mrs Carter added: “We hope with the support of many services Harry can become as independent in his life as is possible and that all his dreams come true. He really wants to get a little job. We are working ever so hard to find one, but it is very difficult.”