Mum terrified after doctor told her baby needs open heart surgery at just 6-months-old

Izabella Toole, of Liverpool, has celebrated her 10th birthday since undergoing the miracle surgery that saved her life – she had been born premature with a hole in her heart

Izabella Toole was born prematurely at just 34 weeks
Izabella Toole was born prematurely at just 34 weeks

A baby underwent open heart surgery at just six-months-old after being born premature with a hole in her heart.

Izabella Toole was born at just 34 weeks at Liverpool Women’s Hospital weighing just 3.7 lbs.

The tot initially appeared well but soon began having breathing difficulties and spent the first few days of her life in intensive care.

Parents Eleanor and James, of Liverpool, Merseyside, were shell-shocked when doctors then gave them the devastating news that their baby needed open heart surgery.

This was due to a condition called ventricular septal defect (VSD) which meant Izabella had a hole in the wall separating her two heart valves.

Eleanor, 43, told the Liverpool Echo : “The size of the hole meant it wasn’t going to sort itself out.

Izabella Toole was born premature


Liverpool ECHO)

She has since celebrated her 10th birthday


Liverpool ECHO)

“We were told she needed the operation before she was two and we decided we wanted her to have it sooner rather than later.

“The whole thing was terrifying. It was a whirlwind. You just have to trust the experts that you’re in safe hands. We were shell-shocked.

“At the time I don’t think you can really grasp how difficult it is to go through that as a family.”

At six months old, Izabella underwent the gruelling surgery at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital.

On January 5, the family celebrated the 10 year anniversary of the operation that saved their daughter’s life.

James, 45, said: “You talk about it, you cry we came out the other end as a family.”

Izabella Toole and her dad James


Liverpool ECHO)

“It was terrifying and obviously a traumatic thing to let your child go through but we knew it was for the best.”

The family are still processing the trauma of Izabella’s early health issues and want to raise awareness of the importance of research into heart defects that “made the operation possible.”

James described their now ten-year-old daughter as “wonderful, laid back and happy” with dreams of becoming a make-up artist.

The couple praised the incredible care and regular check ups they received from Alder Hey.

Eleanor said: “All the staff were really supportive. They have us a support team that looked after us too and made sure we were okay.”

During her treatment, Izabella’s parents gave consent for their daughter to take part in research projects to further understand heart conditions.

They raised more than £500 for the British Hearth Foundation in 2016 and now feel it is important to give back to the research that helped their daughter.

Eleanor added: “It was research that made Izabella’s operation possible.

“Without the people that went before Izabella, all those years and open heart surgery and research, Izabella wouldn’t be where she is.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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