CUTE-AS-A-BUTTON Frankie Mould is preparing to leave hospital after a flesh-eating bug threatened his life.
Our pictures show the 18-month-old after he was given permission by doctors to return home for the night – the first time he has been allowed out of hospital since surgeons were forced to remove most of his skin.
Frankie’s family are hoping his trip back to Sunderland will be a major step towards him being ultimately discharged from hospital.
Dressed as his favourite book character, the Gruffalo, Frankie is finally on the road to recovery after agonising skin grafts to repair his damaged body.
Mum Lucy Dove, 25, of Hylton Castle, said: “We have been told he will be able to come home for one night over the weekend, which is fantastic.”
Frankie underwent an unprecedented nine-hour operation at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary after the bug began eating away at his back, sides, chest and left leg.
Surgeons were then forced to remove healthy skin from the tot’s right leg and graft it to the damaged parts of his body.
Even when he is allowed back home, Frankie will still need frequent trips to the hospital to ensure the wounds are healing properly.
Lucy said: “He is suffering from a lot of itchiness at night so even when he does get home, we’ll be back at the hospital every two to three days.”
Lucy, also mum to Kayne, first became concerned about Frankie’s condition when he started feeling poorly on Monday, April 8. After noticing a lump developing on his back, she told staff at Sunderland Royal Hospital’s A&E department who then transferred the youngster to the RVI.
The family, including Frankie’s dad Wayne Mould, 25, were told to prepare themselves for the worst as plastic surgeons prepared to remove their son’s skin right down to the muscle.
After days in a medically induced coma, the tot was finally woken up and has been making good progress. Medics have been treating him as if he were a serious burns victim.
Surgeons are hopeful the skin grafts have been successful while the family looks forward to bandage-covered Frankie, once described as “the sickest little boy in the country” starting finally to get back on his feet.