NHS at 70: ‘Health service saved me at nine months old’

Millie Platts. Picture: Greg Macvean
Millie Platts. Picture: Greg Macvean
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Millie Stobie Platts was only nine months old when she had a liver transplant after doctors discovered she had Alagille syndrome, a genetic condition which can cause liver failure, portal hypertension, and growth problems.

Weighing in at only 5.5lbs when she was born meant that doctors were keeping an eye on her progress and it was at her six-week check that the family GP flagged up a slight heart murmur. A “very clever” cardiologist referred Millie to gastroenterology where she was diagnosed.

Millie Platts as a baby. Picture: Greg Macvean

Millie Platts as a baby. Picture: Greg Macvean

For mum Alison Platts it was a terrifying time. “It was pretty awful to hear and a lot to take in but you have to place your trust in these people.”

At one of her monthly check-ups when she was six months old, Alison and husband Bill Stobie were told that their baby’s liver had started to fail. Alison said: “You could tell she wasn’t a well girl but she would sit up and play. She had yellow eyes and a swollen tummy.” After a three-week spell at the Sick Kids, Millie underwent the transplant in Birmingham where the family stayed for three months – leaving older brother Sean in Edinburgh with his grandparents.

Alison said: “The staff were brilliant. Each step doesn’t seem quite real. She was in intensive care and on a ventilator and every day you’re hoping she’ll get better.

“Even when we got the call saying they had a liver, we didn’t quite register the reality.”

And get better Millie did, and last year she even represented Great Britain in the World Transplant Games in Malaga where she competed in table tennis, athletics and volleyball.

The James Gillespie’s pupil, who will soon be transitioning to adult services from the Sick Kids, brought home a gold, silver and bronze medal to her proud parents.

Alison praises the NHS for looking after her daughter: “There are so many brilliant people who looked after her. They give such good care and don’t care who you are or where you come from.

“I can’t fault the fantastic organisation at all.”