A toddler is lucky to be alive after a birthmark grew inside her throat. Little Mia Rogers was rushed to hospital when she developed a high-pitched wheeze at five weeks old. At one point she was put on a ventilator and doctors warned her parents their baby could die.
Mia was in and out of hospital before the rare subglottic haemangioma – blood vessels which formed a birthmark – was identified. Medication held it at bay for a while but it continued to grow and Mia needed emergency surgery to remove it.
Mum Sophie Collins said: “ Doctors said Mia was breathing through this tiny hole and if I’d left it much longer she would have stopped breathing. You hear about birthmarks all the time but Mia’s type is very rare. Her consultant only deals with about two a year.”
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Mia, now 13 months old, is “thriving” thanks to the ear, nose and throat team at the Evelina London Children’s Hospital. “They gave me so much support and care at a time when I needed it most,” added Sophie, 32. “Without them, Mia could have died.”
Sophie, also mum to two-year-old Isla, said Mia was perfectly fine for the first month of her life, then her breathing became laboured. Within days her breathing got much louder. After being blue-lighted to hospital, medics suspected she had croup – an infection common in infants – or laryngomalacia, known as a floppy airway.
Mia was discharged with steroid medication. Then, on April 30 last year – Sophie’s birthday – Mia began wheezing again and was taken to Evelina London, part of Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust.
Sophie added: “It was so scary. As they didn’t know what was in her airway, the team had to prepare us that she could potentially die.” Mia spent seven days on the ventilator and a two-hour op revealed the problem. She was put on medication to reduce the birthmark and allowed home.
But in August, Mia was rushed back in and, 10 days later, had surgery to cut out a large part of the blockage. Sophie said: “The wait was excruciating but the procedure was successful. She is so much better now. She’s just so lovable and is always up for a cuddle.”
It is possible for the haemangioma to grow again until it naturally shrinks away, around the age of 18 months. On May 8 – a year to the day Mia was rushed in – dad Jon ran 34 miles from Medway Hospital to Evelina, raising nearly £6,000. The care home manager, 34, was joined by Sophie for the first and last five miles – and carried Mia for the last stretch.
Jon said: “The team who care for Mia are superb. We’ll be forever grateful.” Consultant Dr Victoria Possamai said: “I’m very heartened to see Mia thriving following her challenging start in life.”
You can donate at justgiving.com/fundraising/Sophie-Collins13
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