Northern Ireland news

Baby Camille returns home after life-saving heart surgery during pandemic

Conor and Laura Murray with baby Camille and their three other children Thea, Roma and Jude. Camille was discharged from a Dublin hospital on Sunday after undergoing life-saving heart surgery earlier this month. Picture Mal McCann.
Seanín Graham

A BABY girl who underwent life-saving heart surgery in Dublin has been been reunited with her family in Co Antrim after the coronavirus pandemic forced them to live apart for almost a month.

Camille Murray, who is just four-months-old, was transferred to Our Lady's Children's Hospital in Crumlin more than a fortnight ago for an operation to rebuild the chambers of her heart.

Her father, Antrim GAA star Conor Murray, and his wife Laura had to separate and self-isolate to prevent their little girl contracting Covid-19, while their three other children, Roma (8), Jude (4) and Thea (2) moved in with their grandparents.

Surgeons told the couple that the six-hour surgery - which took place 10 days ago after being cancelled twice due to the outbreak - was a "brilliant" success and Camille required no further procedures.

The Lisburn infant was born with a congenital heart condition and became unwell last month when she stopped gaining weight that led to her being admitted to the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children. She also has Down's Syndrome.

Camille Murray has made a "great" recovery, according to doctors, following major heart surgery

On Sunday, an overjoyed Mr Murray learned that doctors were happy for Camille to be discharged home - and that he was free pick up his daughter and his wife, who had been staying in hospital accommodation as only one parent was allowed due to coronavirus restrictions.

"We knew that Camille would need surgery before she was six-months old and we've had this anxiety hanging over us since Christmas. When the pandemic hit it got much worse as we didn't know if she would get it," Mr Murray told The Irish News.

"After the operation, Camille was in ICU for less than two days and surgeons said she was doing great. We thought she would leave Dublin and then be transferred back to the Royal but she didn't even need that.

Baby Camille Murray is welcomed home from hospital by her sisters Roma and Thea and brother, Jude on Sunday morning

"I drove down on Sunday morning and collected them. We got our other kids - it was the first time we were together as a family in over three weeks and we even had a Sunday dinner. I have been driving up and down to Dublin each day and the exhaustion hit us all, we fell asleep early and even Camille slept through the night.

"Already we can see the difference as she is feeding so much better and is very content. We cannot thank the surgeons and nurses enough for what they've done. Before these medical advances and because Camille has Down's we were told that she may not have lived beyond her teens. But now, they've said she can live her life like anyone else."

The Lamh Dhearg clubman, who is regarded as one of Antrim's best players and made a dramatic comeback after being out of action for a year due to a severe injury, said he has been inundated with messages of support from teammates as GAA opponents from across Ireland.

"We've been overwhelmed by the messages of support, it's been fantastic. We have to keep self-isolating at home but at least we're together again."

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