Our little baby boy had 40 seizures in his first four days
‘WE’RE INDEBTED TO HOSPITAL STAFF FOR SAVING JAC’S LIFE’
THE traumatic birth of a couple’s first-born child and the life-changing treatment he received has inspired them to share his story in a bid to help other babies.
Little Jac Patrick Griffiths wasn’t breathing when he was delivered and had 40 seizures in four days due to a lack of oxygen to his brain.
His parents Laura O’Sullivan and Steven Griffiths from Bangor could only watch as their little boy battled through after being transferred to Ysbyty Glan Clwyd’s special care baby unit.
It was there that he was wrapped in a “cooling mat” for 72 hours as part of treatment known as therapeutic hypothermia, which put his body in a hypothermic state to limit the extent of any brain injury.
Eleven weeks on and Jac is home and thriving after spending the first 15 days of his life in hospital.
It is not yet known whether he has suffered any permanent damage as a result of his ordeal, but so far, tests and milestone checks have been positive and he hasn’t had a seizure since.
Laura and Steven say they are indebted to hospital staff for everything they did for their son and want to repay them by raising money for cooling a mat for Ysbyty Gwynedd – where there are currently none – so that babies starved of oxygen at birth can begin the treatment while they are being transferred to special care.
Laura said: “Jac was born at Ysbyty Gwynedd a day early on July 14 after a brilliant text book pregnancy with no problems.
“But after a difficult labour, to our complete shock he was not breathing when he was born and was immediately taken to the special care baby unit at Glan Clwyd.
“Within hours he began to have seizures that continued for four days, in total Jac had around 40.
“What we now know is the seizures were a symptom of HIE (Hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy) a condition caused by a lack of blood and oxygen reaching a baby’s brain, in Jac’s case during his birth.
“It can affect all of a baby’s organs, particularly the brain where a lack of oxygen can lead to brain injury causing physical disability and learning difficulties.
“There is no cure for HIE, however in more severe cases, therapeutic hypothermia can reduce the extent of damage caused if given shortly after the oxygen depriving incident.
“It involves the baby being placed in a cooling mat for 72 hours.
“The mat lowers the body temperature to 33.5, placing the baby in a controlled hypothermic state and as a result limits the extent of brain injury caused by HIE.”
The 32-year-old added: “Jac was transferred to Ysbyty Glan Clwyd at 15 hours old to receive this treatment as there is no such equipment available in Ysbyty Gwynedd.
“What happened to Jac was unusual but could it happen to any baby.
“We have been very lucky, Jac is a healthy and happy boy and is not showing signs of any damage.
“Only time will tell if any permanent damage was done, but what we do know is that without the treatment it is highly likely any damage would be significantly worse.”
The family have now set up a crowdfunding page to help other babies born in similar situations.
Laura said: “We will be forever in debt to all the staff at both Ysbyty Gwynedd and Ysbyty Glan Clwyd who looked after Jac.
“Our hope is that we can go some way to repay this debt by helping Ysbyty Gwynedd to purchase a cooling mat to ensure babies born there with HIE are able to start the treatment without delay.”
■ Jac pictured with mum, Laura O’Sullivan and dad, Steven Griffiths
■ Jac Patrick Griffiths was delivered after a traumatic birth