Liverpool heart operation baby recovers to win modelling competition
May 31 2010 By Liza Williams
A TODDLER who spent the first few hours of life on a hospital operating table recovered to win a baby modelling competition.Jack Eaton Bell was saved by doctors at Alder Hey undergoing a nine-hour open heart operation within 28 hours of being born.
His mum Sarah Gornell, 27, and dad Mark Bell, 30, then faced an anxious five-day wait as he was monitored in intensive care.But 21 months later Jack is fighting fit and the new model for clothing line Mini Mode.Sarah, from Garston, said: “It is unbelievable to look at him now.“When he was born the whole thing went past in a blur. It is only now, when you see how healthy he is, that the severity of what happens hits home.”
Jack will appear in a catalogue for the clothing range, sold at Boots, after a photo shoot earlier this week. His prize also includes a year-long modelling contact with an agency.
Jack was born with a congenital heart condition known as Transposition of the Great Arteries (TGA).
The arteries in his heart grew the wrong way around, meaning blood could not be pumped around the body correctly.But the procedure corrected the condition. And although Jack must have annual check ups, he is completely healthy.
Ms Gornell, a receptionist for surveyors Hitchcock Wright and Partners, in Castle Street, said: “Jack was born at the Women’s Hospital and immediately the midwives thought something was wrong.“He was transferred to Alder Hey and a mini procedure was performed where a balloon was inserted into the base of his heart.
“This normally means doctors can then perform the operation six weeks later. But the balloon didn’t work so Jack was rushed to theatre straight away.“We are so grateful to all the staff at both hospitals. They were amazing with Jack and us.“The aftercare was so important too when he came back home. We gave Jack the middle name of Eaton in Alder Hey’s honour, because it is on Eaton Road.”
She added: “We are thrilled he has won the competition. Of course we think he is gorgeous, he is our baby. But his grandparents encouraged us to enter him.”