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Children’s Air Ambulance heart surgery patient now an energetic and fun child as he celebrates 7th Birthday

Children’s Air Ambulance heart surgery patient now an energetic and fun child as he celebrates 7th Birthday

A boy from the Isle of Wight who was flown by the Children’s Air Ambulance when he needed emergency specialist heart surgery as a four-week-old baby celebrates his seventh birthday on 12 March.

Jack Rowley is now an energetic, fun, caring child who loves going on bike rides and playing with Star Wars Lego sets.

His mum Abi Robbins from Newport says: “The helicopter transfer gave him the best chance of survival. I can’t really find the words to tell you how grateful we all are that the Children’s Air Ambulance was there for us. Everything could have been very different without their help.”

She will never forget the day in April 2014 when Jack was flown from St Mary’s Hospital on the Isle of Wight to Southampton General Hospital – the nearest hospital where he could receive the specialist lifesaving treatment he needed.

The flight took just eight minutes compared to a journey by land ambulance which would involve a ferry crossing and take several hours.

The helicopter picked up specialists from the Southampton and Oxford Retrieval Team (SORT) -one of the clinical partners working with the Children’s Air Ambulance – and flew them to Jack’s local hospital to prepare him for the crucial flight to the mainland.  He needed to be transferred from portable oxygen to a ventilator, then sedated, to make his journey as safe as possible.

By the time Abi and Jack’s dad Mike joined their son at Southampton General Hospital, he had been fully prepared for surgery. However, unbeknown to them, the worse was still to come as Jack’s tiny heart stopped just before the operation. Had he been in a land ambulance when this happened, the consequences could have been disastrous.

But thankfully, the surgery to correct Jack’s heart defects was successful and he responded well to treatment. So much so that the family were able to take him home just 10 days later.

Since then, he hasn’t looked back and is now, according to his mum “a typical little boy.”

Plans for his 7th birthday are limited because of lockdown restrictions but as soon as allowed Jack will be treated to a day out at his favourite farm park.

“Without the Children’s Air Ambulance, it is quite possible that Jack wouldn’t have got to Southampton Hospital in time to be operated on. We will never forget what the charity did for us that day and are happy to support them by sharing our story to help raise awareness of and funds for their work. They receive no government funding and rely on donations to keep flying,” says Abi.