Sunderland heart transplant girl, two, leaves hospital after more than a year

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Cheers and claps as heart transplant girl Beatrix goes home

Brave heart transplant patient Beatrix Archbold has finally left hospital - to cheers, tears and a guard of honour.

The little two-year-old from Wearside has gone home for the first time since May 2022.

Staff at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle lined the ward and cheered as Beatrix slowly walked past, hand in hand with relatives.

A guard of honour for Beatrix as she leaves hospital.A guard of honour for Beatrix as she leaves hospital.
A guard of honour for Beatrix as she leaves hospital. | ugc

'She is in her own bedroom and having a nap'

Now, she's getting used to a new life in her own house.

The Echo spoke to dad Terry who said: "It's surreal. Bea is settling in to her own bedroom and she is having a nap.

"I was on autopilot today and thinking I am going to have to go to hospital, but here I am in my living room and Bea is asleep upstairs."

Beatrix having a nap.Beatrix having a nap.
Beatrix having a nap. | ugc

900 North East people still waiting for a donor to save their lives

The family's fight to get more awareness of organ donation still goes on.

Terry said: "We have stood in that guard of honour for other children but this time it was Bea's turn."

Such an emotional scene as Beatrix leaves hospital.Such an emotional scene as Beatrix leaves hospital.
Such an emotional scene as Beatrix leaves hospital. | ugc

'At the back of your mind, you are thinking about the donor's family'

"It was bitter sweet to leave the ward. We were over the moon that we were bringing Bea home but we were also conscious of the families that are still waiting. You know what they are going through.

"And at the back of your mind, you are also thinking about the donor's family and that they made this possible."

Beatrix left the hospital yesterday after a series of transplant clinic checks.

Rocking her new B-shirt.Rocking her new B-shirt.
Rocking her new B-shirt. | ugc

She will still need weekly visits to the clinic for the first 3 months. Those checks will later be extended to six-monthly and annually.

'How can you find the words to thank the NHS. They have saved her life multiple times'

Terry praised everyone associated with the NHS and said: "How can you find the words that are adequate for what they have done. They have saved Bea's life multiple times."

Beatrix’s own story unfolded in May 2022.

She had stopped drinking, had a rash on her neck and the family dialled 111.

14 months attached to an artificial heart

After going to A&E, a doctor at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Gateshead detected a heart murmur. Tests showed one side of her heart was enlarged and not functioning properly.

She had an operation to fit a line into her body so she could receive medication but she had a cardiac arrest and was saved by expert surgeons at the Freeman Hospital who performed open heart surgery.

Learning to walk - dressed as Wonder Woman

The family say Beatrix has had numerous messages and goodwill gifts.The family say Beatrix has had numerous messages and goodwill gifts.
The family say Beatrix has had numerous messages and goodwill gifts. | ugc

During her hospital stay, she learned to walk and talk.

There have been scares too. In April this year, the ever-alert hospital staff spotted that a deposit had formed in the artificial ventricle which fed into Beatrix’s brain, putting her at risk of a stroke.

Beatrix's cute R2-D2 moment

But the little girl whose story has touched thousands of people is back home and already adapting to her new life.

Beatrix Archbold who has had a heart transplant.Beatrix Archbold who has had a heart transplant.
Beatrix Archbold who has had a heart transplant. | ugc

Dad said: "We were watching a Star Wars film and R2D2 came on, making a noise. He was beeping.

"Bea said 'ooh, no pipes'. She was used to having a beeping noise from the machine she was attached to."

'Incredible donors and their families'

Anthony Clarkson, Director of Organ Donation and Transplantation at NHS Blood and Transplant, said: Over 50,000 people are alive in the UK today thanks to the life-saving gift of organ donation, and 525 people had a transplant in the North East and Yorkshire last year.

More than 900 people are awaiting organ donations in the North East and Yorkshire.More than 900 people are awaiting organ donations in the North East and Yorkshire.
More than 900 people are awaiting organ donations in the North East and Yorkshire. | other 3rd party

"But this wouldn’t be possible without the generosity of our incredible donors and their families who have given their support for donation at what is often the most difficult of times."

Every donor could save up to 9 lives

“However, we still need families to support their loved one’s decision and agree to donation when approached, which we know is most likely when they know that’s what they wanted."

To find out more, visit: www.organdonation.nhs.uk, call 0300 123 23 23 or use the NHS app.

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