A SICK teenager who battled back from two bone marrow transplants and spent five months in an isolation unit is hoping for a healthy new year.
Fourteen-year-old Bryant Hackett was fit and well until doctors diagnosed him with liver failure in October 2012, following a holiday to Spain less than two months earlier.
The former Durham Chorister school pupil was at 85 per cent risk of needing a liver transplant, and was only saved from the trauma of an operation by doses of steroids.
After overcoming the potentially fatal condition, Bryant, of Hylton Castle, suffered bone marrow failure in January, and was given anti-thymocyte globulin (ATG) treatment, which uses horse or rabbit antibodies, to try to fight the condition.
But when he was diagnosed with pneumonia, which travelled towards his heart, doctors didn’t have time for the therapy to take effect, and rushed the youngster in for a bone marrow transplant.
Despite doses of chemotherapy and radiotherapy, the transplant failed and Bryant had to undergo more gruelling treatment and a second transplant.
Mum Leanne Wooton, 36, of Hylton Castle, said it was a “horrible” experience.
“It was hard for me,” she said. “When he was in isolation, he got so low that he started to refuse his medication.
“It could have caused the transplant to fail, and even though he was told that, he said he didn’t care.
“He was fighting with the doctors and in the end had to have medication fed through his stomach.”
The teenager was only allowed three specified visitors in the isolation unit at the Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle, and, consequently, has had no real contact with friends for almost a year.
He couldn’t appear at the Echo’s Pride of Wearside Awards in November, when he was named one of our Child Of Courage winners.
He was discharged about nine weeks ago, but is still forced to live in semi-isolation.
Bryant is still not allowed to see pregnant sister Terri Wooton, 20, as he is suffering from the virus CMV, which can be harmful to unborn babies.
“He hasn’t had any association with anyone for about a year, and now Terri is living with her gran,” said Leanne.
“It has been a difficult year – March was the worst time.
“We will never know whether the liver failure was caused by something he picked up in Spain.
“It is hard for him, and I think we still have a long way to go, but since he has been home, he has picked up.”
Doctors have now said that Bryant can go back to school.
The teenager will be starting at Sandhill View Community Arts School, two afternoons a week, at the end of the month.
“Just for him to be associating with people again will be brilliant,” said Leanne. “He still has to visit the hospital twice a week to make sure his bloods are fine, but up until now, there is no more treatment.”