A SCHOOLBOY is lucky to be alive after a nurse at his doctor’s surgery picked up a potentially fatal heart infection.
Jacob Austen (7), of Walsoken, had to undergo emergency open heart surgery at Great Ormond Street Hospital after he was diagnosed with a rare heart condition that can affect the blood flow.
Mum Madeleine Austen said when Jacob first fell ill in December, his GP at Trinity Surgery in Wisbech believed it was just a virus. The West Walton Primary School pupil was very tired, had lost weight and “just wasn’t himself”.
But when Jacob failed to improve, Madeleine – who is also mum to four-year-old Jessica – knew something wasn’t right and continued to take him back to the surgery. Finally, on January 6, nurse practitioner Sarah Morris detected an unusual sound from Jacob’s heart.
“It was like a whooshing sound,” Madeleine said. “The nurse told us not to go home but to take him straight to hospital.”
After two days in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn, tests revealed Jacob had endocarditis, a heart condition that is estimated to affect fewer than 10 people in every 100,000 in any given year and causes swelling inside the heart.
Jacob was “blue-lighted” to Great Ormond Street in London where he underwent surgery to repair the damage done to his heart.
Madeleine said: “It was terrifying. At one point, I asked the doctor if Jacob was going to die and he couldn’t tell me.”
Despite the seriousness of the surgery, Jacob only spent one day in intensive care. He spent two weeks at Great Ormond Street before returned to the QEH for almost another two weeks.
He is now back at school, proudly showing off his scar to his friends and telling them he was attacked by a bear or a lion.
The family have gone back to Trinity Surgery to thank Sarah Morris for picking up Jacob’s condition. Madeleine was also full of praise for the care he received at Great Ormond Street and said it was “out of this world”.
• James Lusher is running the London Marathon for GOSH on behalf of Jacob. If you would like to sponsor him, go to www.justgiving.com/James-lusher or text 70070 with JAML75 with the amount you want to donate.