Hero nurse praised for spotting rare heart defect
Life-saving surgery follows chance diagnosis
A West Drayton family has praised the nurse whose eagle-eye may have saved the life of their son who had heart surgery at just six days old.
Paddy Fitzgerald was diagnosed with total anomalous pulmonary venous drainage (TAPVD) at Hillingdon Hospital after the nurse noticed a blue tinge at the bed of his fingernails and feet.
Paddy’s mum Shannon, 33, said: “I’m feeling really really lucky. I can’t imagine how our lives would have turned out if we hadn’t spotted that.
“Every time I tell people the story they say it it gives them chills.”
“At the time it was very scary. We were quite overwhelmed.”
Paddy was born on the cream carpeted landing of the family’s West Drayton home on the May 27, delivered by his dad Billy in just 11 minutes. The newborn was taken to Hillingdon Hospital where it appeared that all was fine until the senior midwife, Stella Milanian spotted the unusual blue marks.
TAPVD is a rare congenital heart defect where the veins which carry blood to the heart from the lungs are not connected in the right place.
Thanks to the brilliant work of the nurse, Paddy was able to have the surgery which might just have saved his life.
Mrs Fitzgerald added: “She probably saved us a lot of heartache.
“I don’t know if anyone else would have spotted that.
“He looked so healthy and so well. She probably saved his life.”
Now four months old, Paddy is enjoying a healthy life.
Mr and Mrs Fitzgerald also have a daughter Dominie, who is one, and they said the experience was so different to her birth.
Ms Milanian has also be praised by Shane DeGaris, the chief executive of Hillingdon Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Hillingdon Hospital.
Mr DeGaris said: “Our staff are incredibly dedicated to proving the best possible care and Stella is a shining example to us all.
“Without her expert knowledge and careful attention there may have been a very different outcome for this little boy. I’m extremely proud of her.” Ms Milanian has said she was ‘ simply doing her job’ and is very glad that Paddy is doing well and bringing happiness to his family’s lives.
For video of the life-saving surgery visit getwestlondon.co.uk
n MIRACLE: Above, Paddy in hospital. Inset left, Billy and Shannon Fitzgerald with children Dominie and Paddy