Baby girl saved by sandwich bag after her vital organs were born outside her body
A baby girl’s life has been saved by a SANDWICH bag after her vital organs were born outside her body.
Millie Bartle, 11 months old, from Hull, East Yorkshire, was still in the womb when she was diagnosed with gastroschisis – a birth defect of the abdominal wall where the intestines bulge outside of the baby’s body.
More than a metre of her colon and intestines where growing outside her stomach.
Her terrified mum, Maria Dennison, 28, was told the condition was life threatening and once born, Millie would need emergency surgery to try and correct it.
At barely a minute old Millie’s intestines and colon were covered in cling film before delicately being put back into her body.
But overnight she took a turn for the worse and her blood pressure plummeted so low that she could have died as her little body couldn’t handle the pressure of containing her organs.
Doctors were forced to take her bowels back out before placing them into a medical sandwich bag which hung above her incubator.
Over the following week they were slowly lowered back into her fragile body and after 56 days in intensive care she was released home.
Now approaching her first birthday Millie’s organs have finally recovered and she can now eat without any digestive problems.
Mum Maria, a receptionist, said: “It was so weird seeing a clear sandwich bag, known as a silo bag, with her organs hanging above my little baby, it looked like something out of a gory horror movie, but it saved my daughter’s life.
“I was heartbroken when her first operation failed, she could have died twice in the space of 24-hours.
“Her blood pressure was the problem, her fragile frame was struggling to cope with the extra organs all at once.
“That’s why it was decided to take them back out andallow gravity to take its course and slowly pull them back into her body. Each day it was lowered more and more to help her bowels go back into her body.
“Even after a week there was still three inches of bowel left to go into her body.
“When I found out Millie had gastroschisis at our 12-week ultrasound scan, the midwife pointed to a mass outside of her body and explained that was her bowels.
“I was extremely worried throughout the pregnancy. I knew that while she was still inside of me she would be safe, but as soon as I gave birth she would have to be wheeled off for life-saving surgery.
“When she was born she looked like a perfect newborn baby but she had all of her bowels on the outside, she was then wrapped her up in cling film three or four times round.
“I had to warn her sister that it didn’t look pretty in hospital because she was paralysed by the medication, there was a tube down her throat and the bag holding her intestines, however when she saw her she told me she was beautiful which melted my heart.
“It took 56 days of hospital treatment and multiple hospital trips because of problems with her digestion.
“But finally her bowels are working properly now and she can start being a normal baby.”
Maria Dennison and partner Chris Bartle, 29, were excited to meet their baby for the first time at their 12-week pregnancy scan but it soon turned to a nightmare when told their daughter’s organs were no longer inside her body.
They were offered the opportunity to have an abortion but due to high success rates treating gastroschisis at the Hull Royal Infirmary they hoped their daughter would survive.
Maria said: “When we found out Millie had gastroschisis I was very worried, I’d never heard it but was assured the hospital had a 90 per cent success rate keeping babies with the condition alive.
“I started talking to other parents who had gave birth to children with the condition and it really helped give me the strength to keep battling through. I knew their kids had survived so I believed Millie would too.”
Within 45 seconds of being born she was whisked away for her first emergency surgery before spending two months in hospital.
After being released from hospital Millie had problems digesting food and had to return multiple times because she couldn’t empty her bowel.
Maria added: “Her body couldn’t pass waste normally so she would vomit a dark green sick, it was horrific.
“Thankfully at last she can eat and digest food properly now that her body has gotten used to passing food.”
Millie, who is approaching one, is now fully recovered and her parents have praised the medical team at the Hull Royal Infirmary for saving their daughter’s life.
The deadly condition has a 10 per cent mortality rate for treating children with the gastroschisis and doctors are still uncertain what causes the condition to occur.
Miss Sanja Besarovic, 60, consultant paediatric surgery at Hull Royal Infirmary who fitted Millie’s silo bag, said: “Mille’s abdomen had to be reopened by me due to deterioration and risk of losing the bowels.
“She had a silo bag inserted to release pressure on her bowels and main blood vessels in her abdomen.
“After a few days, when all bowels recovered and went back into the abdominal cavity by gravity, she was successfully re-closed and was managed at our neonatal unit for six weeks while her feeds were established.
“I am delighted to see that Millie has recovered very well and she is able to enjoy life as any other child of her age.
“None of this would be possible without great teamwork and tremendous support and understanding of her parents – I wish her all he best in the future.”