Doncaster baby who had open heart surgery at 12 days old celebrates first birthday

A boy who was born with congenital heart defect has celebrated his first birthday after risky surgery at just 12 days old

By Kev Rogers
Friday, 13th August 2021, 12:13 pm

Little George Clarking celebrated his first birthday with a party this week, a typical one year old "cheeky happy and into everything.”

It would be impossible to know that the thriving smiling little lad owes his life to the miraculous surgery carried out by surgeons just days after he was born.

On April 1 2020, at her 20 week scan, Arksey mum Liane Clarking found out her baby had a congenital heart defect.

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Feisty George Clarking celebrates his first birthday just a year after he had open heart surgery.

Liane said: "We were given the news at Doncaster Infirmary that George’s heart had not formed properly and were referred to Leeds Hospital to find out more. We were told by specialists there he had transposition of the great arteries (TGA).

"We were referred to the Leeds Congenital Heart Unit at Leeds Children’s Hospital, where George would have to be born. He would also have to undergo two heart procedures, one of which being open heart surgery. From day one all staff from the consultants to the nurses were all very supportive and reassuring.”

Born on August 12, George was taken away as soon as he was born to under go his first procedure (balloon operation) which would enable him to have some oxygen flow around his body.

Unfortunately this was unsuccessful.

All smiles: George Clarking with his mum Liane and dad Steve.

George formed a blood clot on the side of his brain which led to him having a stroke, leaving him with permanent brain damage which affected all the right side of his body.

“This didn’t stop our little fighter," said Liane.

The surgeons managed to fit a stent in giving him time to recover for a few days before his open heart surgery which was performed by Miss Carin Van Doorn.

"At 12 days old – and what seemed to be the longest eight hours of my life - George’s operation was a success, said Liane, 30.

Baby George Clarking after he had open heart surgery at Leeds Hospital aged just 12 days.

“Our amazing boy has striven ever since. Despite everything, he has movement in both sides of his body and is hitting every milestone like any other baby.

"He is a cheeky, strong, happy little boy who fills our lives with so much love.”

His dad Steve Clarking, 35 said: “The support from the Leeds Congenital Heart Unit, and the rest of Leeds Children Hospital really did help us through the whole time we were in there.

“It all happened at the height of Covid and the lockdown.

Little George Clarking at his first birthday party with his dad Steve Clarking, 35.

“With us living in Doncaster we managed to get charity accommodation at Eckersley House, next to Leeds Hospital.

“Without this accommodation we wouldn’t have been able to see our boy everyday and be by his side all the way through his treatment.

“There were things we did like clay modelling of his hands and feet and activities where if things hadn’t gone as hoped we had those special moments to enjoy.

“The work and support from Children Heart Surgery Fund is truly amazing and life changing.”

Children’s Heart Surgery Fund was founded in 1988. Since then, it has awarded over £7 million in grants to the Leeds Congenital Heart Unit, its patients and their families, as well as funding important research proposals.

The family has set up a JustGiving page in support of the Children’s Heart surgery Fund here