Northern Ireland news

Family of Co Down baby tell of delight he has been taken off the urgent transplant list

Damien and Riona Grant from Kilcoo with baby Ollie

THE family of Co Down baby Ollie Grant have told of their delight that he has been taken off the urgent heart transplant list and could be allowed home in the coming days.

The eight-month-old from Kilcoo, who has hypoplastic left heart syndrome, has spent more than half his life in hospital.

His parents Damien and Riona, who also have a two-year-old daughter Aria, previously told The Irish News that their son was awaiting an urgent heart transplant.

But just last week the family were given the wonderful news that Ollie was to be flown back to Northern Ireland from Birmingham Children’s Hospital, where he has spent around five months.

Baby Ollie Grant from Kilcoo

Ms Grant said they have spent the last week in the Royal Children’s Hospital in Belfast, with hopes high that they will finally be allowed home to Kilcoo in the coming days.

"We never get too complacent, but fingers crossed he will be home at the start of the week," she said.

Since his birth on October 1 Ollie has undergone two heart operations and suffered a stroke. His heart only works at 37 per cent.

But his condition has improved considerably recently with medics weaning Ollie off all IV heart failure medication and onto oral medicine.

Ms Grant said her son has also been taken off the urgent organ transplant list and placed onto the routine list and was flown home to the RVH by air ambulance last Saturday.

"We didn't think we would be back as soon as this as we thought, we thought we were waiting until he had received his transplant," she said.

Damien and Riona Grant from Kilcoo with baby Ollie

"But Ollie has responded well lately, his heart function has slightly improved and they have removed the IV drug infusion and he's now on oral medication.

"The last two times they tried this, he didn’t respond well.

"But they have been weaning him gradually off and it's worked so it's a step forward."

Ms Grant said they have been in contact with Newcastle Freeman Hospital, which is dealing with Ollie's heart transplant request,

"He's now on the routine list, which is fantastic," she said.

"But we know that he can go back on the urgent list as quickly again.

"They've told us in Newcastle that he has a leaking valve and his poor heart function means he's not conducive for his third surgery.

"But we know a transplant for Ollie is still the only option."

Ms Grant said they are looking forward to getting Ollie finally home to Kilcoo.

"We have only had 16 days at home together since he was born, so we never get our hopes up too much," he said.

"We never get too complacent, but fingers crossed he will be home at the start of the week.

"We can't wait to get him home and we know they are so many people who want to see him."

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