WHEN baby Terence McPolin’s parents received a chance knock on the door from a health visitor they could have had no idea of the drama that was about to unfold.
Because within hours of that visit Terence was in hospital in London receiving surgery for a rare heart condition.
Terence’s mother, Martine, was told that her 11-week-old son was looking too thin and pale for his age and was recommened to take him for a check-up.
She took him to the local GP in Rathfriland, the family’s home town, who referred him straight away to Daisy Hill Hospital before being sent urgently to the Royal Victoria Hospital.
It was in Belfast that she was told that her son had a rare congenital heart disease called Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Return (TAPVR).
“There was nothing doctors could do here so we had to take him to England,” she said.
Terence’s condition was so bad that his parents were not allowed to travel with him in the air ambulance. When he arrived in London he underwent a four-hour operation at St Thomas’ Hospital which went successfully.
Home again in Rathfriland, his parents have tried to put the ordeal behind them, but said it was an experience they would never forget.
“When it’s your first baby you are all excited and you don’t think that something like this is going to happen,” said Martine.
His father, Adrian, said if they had heard of other parents going through the same ordeal, it would maybe have given them some hope in coping with the trauma.
“When I sat with him on the first night in the Royal, I can honestly say I didn’t think he was going to make it,” said Adrian.
For the forseeable future Terence will have to be given medicine for his heart but his parents said he was over the worst of his ordeal and on the mend.