Jamie Last was born premature and spent the first year of his life in hospital. Here is his story…
Jamie was born premature and taken straight to the Trevor Mann Baby Unit (TMBU), based within the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton where, two days later, he underwent major bowel surgery to save his tiny life.
Doctors diagnosed Jamie with ‘short gut syndrome’, a condition where the majority of his small bowel had twisted and died. Months of procedures and round the clock care followed before Jamie could finally be taken home a year later. Jamie’s mum Tina remembers how daunting it felt to be out of hospital, she says: “I quickly had to learn how to carry out tasks like feeding him through a nasal tube and central line through his chest, we were so worried it would damage his vital organs.”
Under the watchful care of Dr A M Butt and his team at the Royal Alexandra Children's Hospital (the Alex) located in a building next door to the TMBU, Jamie’s bowel began to re-grow and at five years old he began eating small portions of food. Starting with teaspoons of mash potato and steadily increasing his intake, Jamie could finally have his tummy peg removed twelve months later to eat normally.
For some years Dr AM Butt and his team had campaigned for better equipment to treat intestinal conditions at the Alex and in the autumn of 2012, Rockinghorse brought this ideal to a reality with the launch of a £25,500 Gastro-Intestinal Unit (GI Unit) at the children’s hospital. The cutting edge equipment now allows Dr AM Butt and his colleagues to monitor vital statistics like bone density and measure the effects of the different treatments given to children with gastro conditions like Jamie’s.
Jamie still receives care at the Alex for recurring problems with his liver, kidney and spleen, but otherwise he is a happy, healthy 10 year old boy who loves to play with his little sister Bethany.
Here at Rockinghorse we are dedicated to continuing to work with consultants at the Alex and the TMBU to identify areas where we can make a real and lasting contribution to the care and treatment of sick children. It is with the support and generosity of our donors that can we actually provide the equipment, better surroundings and the support to achieve happy and healthy outcomes for the children of Sussex and beyond.