Brave Beatrix Archbold spends second birthday in hospital while she waits for a new heart

A brave little girl is celebrating her second birthday today on the hospital ward where she is waiting for a new heart.

Beatrix Archbold now lives at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle. She is attached to tubes which act as her ventricles until she hopefully receives a new heart.

Her parents Terry and Cheryl Archbold, from Roker, made sure it was still a very special day.

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Terry said there were ‘dinosaur themed presents’ as his little girl is a huge fan of dinosaurs.

Beatrix Archbold who celebrated her second birthday on the hospital ward where she is waiting for a new heart. Photo: Emma Hewitt Photography.

There would be a pizza meal treat for tea, and a visit from a small number of relatives to keep the risk of Covid and other bugs to a minimum.

Terry explained: “The more time goes by, the closer she is to getting a transplant and if she was poorly, she might miss that chance. It might be her only chance.”

The day their lives changed forever

Beatrix with the equipment which keeps her alive.

The Archbold family had returned from a trip to Disney World in Florida and thought Beatrix caught Covid.

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

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.

Beatrix in her dinosaur pyjamas.
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All sorts of twists and turns

Since then, Beatrix’s life has taken numerous twists.

She contracted bronchiolitis - a chest infection which affects babies and children aged under 2.

Straight after that, she picked up a sickness bug.

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Cake and balloons for birthday girl Beatrix Archbold. Photo: Emma Hewitt Photography.
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And then a blood clot developed in the artificial ventricle which keeps her alive.

It was only thanks to the ever-excellent nurses at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle that it was spotted, said dad Terry.

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Even in the last week, it’s been tough going for Beatrix who was in theatre twice in 48 hours.

First, her artificial ventricle had to be changed when it developed a fault.

The next day, her Hickman line – which feeds medication into Beatrix – had to be replaced when it had a split in it.

Two today. That's Beatrix Archbold. Photo: Emma Hewitt Photography.
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But there have been positive developments too.

Beatrix said her first words

She said her first words while she was in hospital. “She said snowman and baby,” said dad.

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She even did it while she carried the artificial ventricles which keep her alive.

Beatrix astonished everyone by walking and she did all of that while she was dressed as Wonder Woman!

The couple’s daughter Isabel was stillborn four years ago. The couple agreed her heart could be donated for medical research.

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Now Beatrix is waiting for a heart herself.

Nearly 70 North East people need a new heart

Statistics show 889 people in the North East are waiting for a transplant and 67 of them need a new heart.

Nationally, 228 children need a transplant and 43 of them are waiting for a heart.

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For more on organ donation, visit https://www.organdonation.nhs.uk