A baby boy had to have open-heart surgery at just three weeks old after he was born with Tetralogy of Fallot.

Tommy Armitage was born in December 2019 in Oldham Hospital before being taken to St Marys in Manchester and then rushed to Alder Hey where he underwent open-heart surgery to insert a stent [tiny mental mesh that works to keep an artery from closing or narrowing] in the baby's heart. Just two months later, Tommy had to go back under the knife for a more extensive surgery where they discovered that part of his heart was "knackered".

Tommy's mum, Beckie, has now spoken about what it was like when he was firstborn. The student nurse told the ECHO : "He was diagnosed with Tetralogy of Fallot [a congenital defect that affects the blood flow through the heart] when I was 18 weeks pregnant. We were told he would have an operation between six and nine months and that would be it.

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"When he was born it was a lot more complicated. They didn't know how bad it was until he was born. He was born in Oldham, then taken to St Marys in Manchester but the consultant then spoke to Alder Hey because they won't do the surgery anywhere else. We then went to Alder Hey to have his first surgery.

"He had his stent in January. At the time we thought it might buy him some time and he might not even need his other surgery until he's 12 months but it didn't work.

"He was kept in hospital until March when he had another surgery. There are four major things that are wrong with the heart and when they opened him up they found that his coronary arteries were wrong, and his pulmonary artery was knackered.

"He had to have like a pipe to replace his pulmonary artery which will now need changing every few years as he gets older. He'll be going back to Alder Hey each time for three or four weeks at a time for open-heart surgery."

Anthony and Beckie Armitage with their children Tommy, two, Emily, six and Cody, nine
Anthony and Beckie Armitage with their children Tommy, two, Emily, six and Cody, nine

Going forward Tommy, now two years old, is constantly being observed, with even a common cold putting him in hospital, as he found out in November 2021. The 28-year-old mum-of-three said: "He picked up a cold in a waiting room when we were sat next to a child who was full of cold and a couple of days later Tommy was really ill.

"We went to the hospital because he was struggling with breathing, his heart rate was through the roof, and his oxygen saturation was really low all because there was so much pressure on his heart. He was admitted and monitored and they said it was because of a common cold and he just took it so badly."

Beckie's best friend Maria Cameron, who she has known since they were both 11 years old, is now raising money for Ronald McDonald House Charity due to their support during the long stints Tommy had in hospital at Alder Hey. Maria is taking part in a White Collar boxing match on May 29 with all the money raised through her GoFundMe going to charity.

The 29-year-old said: "It's not nice seeing your friend going through something that you're helpless with. You can't do anything to help the situation, all you can do is try and be positive. We try and do fun things and have days out with the girls to take her mind off things.

"She's helpless as well and it's her child. It's not nice but you have to support them as much as you can."

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