Walking tall, boy who had stroke at 8 hours old
WHEN Frankie Gill suffered a stroke only eight hours after being born, he faced an uncertain future because of the brain damage he sustained.
But today, at 17 months old, he has defied the odds and lives a normal life, having suffered no long-term ill effects.
His mother Hannah, 25, said: ‘We didn’t know what the future would hold for Frankie. We were told he had suffered damage to the left parts of the brain but we had to wait and see what that damage would mean for him.
‘Amazingly, he has done really well and doesn’t seem to have suffered any side effects. The doctors said that because he was so young, his brain has been able to repair itself as he has developed. He has been incredibly lucky.’
Miss Gill, who lives in Bishop Auckland, Co Durham, with her soldier partner Michael Donkin, 26, had enjoyed a smooth pregnancy before she went into labour in April last year at Sunderland Royal Infirmary.
But there were complications during the birth and both mother and baby needed treatment for sepsis.
A few hours after Frankie was born weighing 8lb 4oz, he had two seizures and was sent to the neonatal ward for specialist care.
He was later taken for an MRI scan and the couple were told that a blood clot had passed through the umbilical cord to his brain, leading to a stroke and damage to the left side.
Miss Gill, who also has a daughter Isla, three, said: ‘I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. How could a newborn baby have a stroke at just eight hours old. We had no idea that such a young baby could ever have such a thing.’
But after he left hospital, Frankie thrived and has so far hit all of his milestones, including taking his first steps just before his first birthday in April. Miss Gill said: ‘He’s such a determined little boy and after such a tough start, its wonderful to see him making so much progress. He doesn’t let anything hold him back.’
A spokesman for the Stroke Association said: ‘It is extremely rare for a baby to have a stroke during or just after birth.’
Thriving: Frankie Gill now and, inset, when he was in hospital recovering from his stroke