Jeannie Flynn believes fast intervention from her health visitor saved her daughter’s life.
She says: ‘During the first few weeks of her life, Zoe didn’t seem to be putting on much weight. When she was five weeks old, I noticed that she was jaundiced. Like many people, I was under the misconception that this was normal. I thought everything would be fine.
‘I didn’t realise that if a baby develops jaundice after it is born then it’s a real cause for concern.
‘Fortunately my health visitor encouraged me to see my GP who gave Zoe the split bilirubin test. A few hours later, I received a phone call to say that the results weren’t normal and Zoe was referred to the paediatric liver centre at King’s College Hospital.
‘Zoe was diagnosed with the liver condition biliary atresia. She had her first surgery at eight weeks old. The surgery didn’t work; it might have had a better chance of working if I’d taken her to the GP sooner.
‘The nurses at the centre, like Sarah, were amazing. It was great to be able to go to them as a first port of call when you had questions or concerns, and they really helped us through our situation.
‘When Zoe was eight months old she had a liver transplant. She’s six now and, apart from a scar across her tummy, you wouldn’t know she’d been through this. She plays sports and does everything that other kids do.
‘At the time it seemed like our world had come crashing down. Now it’s just a distant memory. Luckily, things turned out OK for us. But what I would say to anyone is that when they see a jaundiced baby, they shouldn’t automatically assume things will be fine – because they might not be.’