Transplant boys big day out

Lively little boy Jamie Platten was having the time of his young life on Sunday on a visit to a dinosaur park to celebrate his fifth birthday.But this wasn't just an ordinary celebration - it was a birthday Jamie's family thought they might never see.

Lively little boy Jamie Platten was having the time of his young life on Sunday on a visit to a dinosaur park to celebrate his fifth birthday.

But this wasn't just an ordinary celebration - it was a birthday Jamie's family thought they might never see.

For Jamie was just a few months old when he was given a new heart in a lifesaving operation at London's world famous Great Ormond Street Hospital.

As a baby he was literally brought back from the brink of death, as at one stage in his treatment his parents, Stuart Platten and Stacey Clay, had made the harrowing decision to switch off his life support machine.


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Fortunately, medical experts said Jamie could be given a heart transplant. He was one of around 20 babies each year who are given new hearts at the hospital, renowned for its work with sick children.

Soon after Jamie's birth at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King's Lynn, it was discovered he had developed critical aortic stenosis, a narrowing of the aorta.

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He was transferred to the Great Ormond Street Hospital where medical experts decided that to survive he would need open heart surgery.

It was a major seven-hour operation and was intended to rectify a condition called hypo plastic left heart syndrome - where one side of the heart doesn't function properly.

But further detailed tests revealed both his heart valves were leaking badly and a heart transplant was the only option.

Five years, on Mr Platten says his son is a bright and happy little boy who attends the nursery department of Fakenham Infants School on Norwich Road.

He has a two-year-old sister, Charlie, but sadly Mr Platten and the children's mother have separated.

Mr Platten is now a full-time single parent living with the two children, although their mother continues to see them.

Jamie continues to be fed milk several times a day via a tube into his stomach and during the night he is fed by a machine. It is not know how long this system of feeding Jamie

will continue and he is regularly monitored by medical staff, including visits to Great Ormond Street when his condition is reviewed.

“It is a birthday we never thought we would see and I would like to thank both my own and Stacey's families for their support in looking after Jamie.

“I would particularly like to thank Stacey's grandparents, Sheila and David Higgs, who have been wonderful,” said Mr Platten.

As a way of thanking Great Ormond Street Hospital for saving Jamie's life, his grandfather, Neville Platten set about organising fundraising events and, as the little boy celebrated his birthday, the fund has reached a total of £10,322.

“We wanted to do something to help the hospital, and in the months following Jamie's heart transplant we organised various events which were generously supported by the public. All the cash raised has gone to the hospital and we have certificates recording our donations,” said Mr Platten, a retired taxi driver.

Mr Platten said he wanted to thank The Star pub in Oak Street, Fakenham for its fundraising

The pub raised £1,000 through an annual ladies' darts doubles knock-out competition and raffles.

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