A family from Stockport discovered that their baby was born with two holes in his heart just eight weeks after he was born. At just four-years-old, little Miles Bowler’s life has been littered with a slew of health issues, including having to undergo an open heart surgery that he has left with PTSD.
Doctors discovered that Miles had a heart murmur weeks after he was born, and scans at the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital detected two holes in his heart. At nine months old, Miles was also diagnosed with a right ventricular outflow tract obstruction (RVOTO).
His health worsened at 15 months old when he was rushed to hospital for an urgent open heart surgery after his family noticed his lips would often changed colour. His father Mike, 34, said: “We noticed that Miles’ lips were turning blue and his skin was also mottled, especially when he went outside.
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“It was just before Christmas 2018 and we were due to fly to Australia. We took Miles to hospital and they carried out another scan.
“They told us to cancel our travel plans as the growth on Miles’ heart had grown even bigger and he’d need an urgent operation.” Miles was transferred to Alder Hey Hospital in Liverpool, where surgeons decided to operate on him swiftly due to his significant growth.
The surgery involved repairing the holes in his heart and removing the growth. Mike and his wife, Hannah, faced an agonizing four-hour wait whilst the operation took place.
Mike, a PE teacher, added: “It was an horrendous time for us as parents. We both felt this sense of fear and helplessness because there was nothing we could do to make the situation better. All we could do was hope for the best, but luckily Miles was in a safe pair of hands.”
Following the successful surgery, Miles was transferred to intensive care. He was able to make a rapid recovery and left hospital after five days.
Thanks to the surgery, today Thousands can live a relatively normal life. He is due to start school in September, and enjoys swimming and football – along with spending time with his parents and younger brother Mack, aged two. However, the impact of the surgery has had a lasting effect on Miles, and he has been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
“Miles will become agitated if he sees anyone in a nurse’s uniform,” said Mike. “We have to take Miles for regular check-ups, and he would become really upset the moment we stepped through the hospital doors.
“It’s tough seeing the long-term effects that the surgery is having on him. Going forward, a play therapist will now be by Miles’ side during any check-ups and tests, which should help him cope.
“Miles is a little fighter and such a curious, intelligent child. We’re so proud of him for how far he’s come.”
Mike now hopes to raise more funds towards the British Heart Foundation’s (BHF) research by taking part in the Great Manchester Run on Sunday 22nd May. You can donate to Mike’s challenge here.
The dad-of-two added: “I’ve done the 10K before but this will be the first time I’ve attempted a half marathon.
“I’m really looking forward to it, and Miles will be there in the crowd along with Hannah and Mack to cheer me on. I really feel proud to raise funds for the BHF and help others. Without research, Miles would not have got the treatment he received, which he does not bear thinking about.
Emma Watkins, BHF’s Event Lead for the Great Manchester Run, said: “We are so grateful that Mike has chosen to raise funds for the BHF, and we’ll certainly be cheering him on over the finish line. By supporting the BHF, people like Mike will raise vital money to fund our ground breaking science to save and improve more lives.”
You can donate to Mike’s challenge here.
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.