Shefford mother speaks of her relief after son successfully undergoes ‘gruelling’ skull surgery

Amy Wilson and Charlie Phipps with Harry

Amy Wilson and Charlie Phipps with Harry - Credit: Archant

A mother has spoken of her relief after her 15-month-old son successfully underwent “gruelling” surgery to reshape his skull.

Charlie at Great Ormond Street Hospital

Charlie at Great Ormond Street Hospital - Credit: Archant

Amy Wilson’s son Harry was diagnosed in October last year with Saggital Craniosynostosis (SC) – a rare condition which causes an irregular skull shape and can lead to a build up in pressure in the brain causing headaches, blurred vision and breathing difficulties.

He was referred to Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital in London and underwent a seven-and-a-half hour operation two months ago where surgeons reshaped his skull.

Speaking about the experience, Miss Wilson, who grew up in Stevenage and now lives in Shefford, said: “He was born a healthy happy baby. He had all the checks and we got to take our bundle of joy home the day after he was born.

“However, when Harry was eight months old our life was turned upside down. We had taken him to Lister Hospital after he had a bad bout of gastroenteritis but when were about to leave a paediatric nurse mentioned the shape of Harry’s head and if we had ever had it measured or looked at.

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“I was quite offended at first – hats had never really fitted and tops were hard to get over his head but I thought that was quite normal. We were ordered to see a specialist two weeks later but he didn’t have any concerns and sent us home. I was so relieved.”

However, the following day the specialist contacted the family telling them he wanted to scan Harry’s head as he suspected he might have SC, something the subsequent scan confirmed.

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The condition affects an estimated one in every 1,800 to 3,000 children, with three out of every four cases involving boys.

Miss Wilson, 26, said: “When it was confirmed I felt sick and angry, thinking ‘why my child’?

“We were referred to Great Ormond Street Hopsital, where Harry underwent a gruelling operation during which surgeons removed his skull, broke it into pieces and, in their words, ‘put it back together like a jigsaw puzzle’.

“The surgery went well and after being away from us for eight hours we finally got to see him. That was such a hard part, seeing him in the Intensive Care Unit with wires everywhere and a big bandage wrapped around his head.

“The next day swelling set in and he didn’t look like my little boy anymore. It was very hard to see him like this and all I wanted to do was take the pain away.

“After three days he had the bandages taken off and instead of a long narrow head he had a lovely round one, although he had a scar running ear to ear like an Alice band.

“Harry spent five days in hospital and then we were allowed to take our sweet baby boy home.

“Once home he’s bounced back so quick considering he has just had his skull rebuilt. He will need check-ups until his early teens and we can never rule out further surgery as sometimes this can happen, but we pray Harry and us as a family never have to go through that again.”

Police officer Charlie Phipps, Harry’s father and Miss Wilson’s partner, ran the Rat Race – a 20-mile assault course in Peterborough – on Saturday to raise money for the hospital.

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