Nurse says ‘thanks’ after son’s heart surgery

Kate & Chris Wall with kids William and Thomas
Kate & Chris Wall with kids William and Thomas

As a nurse in intensive care in Sheffield Children’s Hospital, Kate Wall was only too aware that something was wrong with her baby, William, when he was only two weeks old.

“We thought everything was fine, then he became unwell over a day and by the evening we were taking him to A&E. It took a while to work out what was wrong.”

William needed an operation to repair a vessel in his heart, and is likely to need further surgery when he is a little older, even though at 18 months he is “full of life”.

The experience of Kate and her husband, Chris, has prompted her to raise money for the charity the Children’s Heart Federation, which supports children and families going through similar situations.

Which explains why Kate will be running in the TenTenTen, a 10k race, in Endcliffe Park on October 13.

William’s illness came out of the blue. “We were unaware of his condition until he became unwell and deteriorated rapidly. He ended up on intensive care at the Children’s Hospital, which happens to be my place of work - I’m a nurse there - which was really hard!”

After being diagnosed in Sheffield, William required surgery in the specialist cardiac unit in Leeds for a narrowing of the aorta.

The narrowed section of the artery was removed and the ends tied together.

“You are talking about a tiny baby so it is really tricky,” said Kate, aged 31, who lives in Dore and has another son, Thomas, aged three.

“He was in a lot of pain after surgery and generally not well.”

William’s condition will remain under review and will probably need further investigations later in the year or early next year. “We have been watching and waiting for him to get bigger so there can be another investigation of his heart,” said Kate.

“This has been worrying at times, but he is really good at the moment and full of life.”

She wants to thank her colleagues in intensive care in Sheffield Children’s Hospital - “they were absolutely amazing” - and wants to help the Children’s Heart Federation.

“One of the worst things was the shock of finding out you have got a normal baby one moment, then that he has a heart problem.

“They do a lot of work to support families. Even when things are better, it takes a lot of getting over.”

Kate is looking for sponsors for her run in Endcliffe Park.

“I have done a little bit of running, but I am having to train for this,” she said.

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