The Story of a boy called Callum.


Active member
12 Dec 2002
North Ayrshire/ Glencoe
I’ve been asked to write an edited version of Callums story so as it explains the reason for the raffle.

Callums story so far.

Callum Richardson was born 4weeks early by emergency caesarean on the 5th October 2005 at 2104hrs at Irvine Central Hospital. Reason for the emergency, being my wifes health was beginning to deteriorate .
He was born a healthy bouncing baby boy at 7lbs 10oz. At 5 days old he started to look slightly unwell, and was taken from us in the ward to the special baby care unit. There they did some tests, and scans showed 2 heart problems, they repeated the scan with an Internet link to a Cardiac Specialist at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children at Yorkhill.
Unfortunately the problems were confirmed and they said he would need to be transferred to Yorkhill immediately for emergency surgery or he would die. We were told he would require 2 operations.

A specialist transfer ambulance was dispatched to transfer him, we asked if my wife could travel with him, but that wasn’t allowed as it required a team of 4 nurses and doctors to transfer him and there would be no room in the ambulance.

Walking out of a Maternity hospital after having a baby, without him/her is one of the hardest thing imaginable. We were devastated! We didn’t exactly know what was going on!!!

We made our own way to Glasgow, My wife still recovering was admitted to the Queen Mother Maternity hospital next door to Yorkhill. The staff there had been brought up too date by the nurses at Irvine, they knew what the situation was and were expecting us, They were fantastic and put my wife in a private room, and insisted I stay as well, For a fortnight I stayed in that ward with her.

Callum first operation was when he was 8days old, It was a coartation repair to his main Aorta Artery leading from the heart.
The operation that took 4 hours went well. And he was taken to the Intensive care unit. We were shown the ICU unit the night before to prepare us for it, and I found it interesting, but when we were taken to the unit to see Callum after his operation is scared the hell out of me! All the machines round him, beep and sirens going off every few seconds, the wires and drips going into him, it was simply horrific.
But it was something we had to get used to very quickly, and we did!

In ICU the nursing is 1 to 1, they are the angels, they work 12hr shifts, and are constantly watching the monitors for any change, they do a fantastic job,

We were told before his op, that they wanted to do the 2 operations a few weeks apart, but after several days in Intensive Care it was obvious to us that his recovery wasn’t quite going to plan.
We asked to see the consultant, to ask what was going on, and were told that they were going to have to take him back to theatre to do the second op, to try and help aid his recovery. Having the 2 ops close together was something the surgeon said he didn’t want too happen, but it had!

Eight days after his first op, Callum was taken back to have his second operation. A large hole in the heart repaired, or a VSD closure as its technically called.
This operation was the most serious, it required the heart to be stopped and to be cut right open down the centre as the whole was deep within.

Again the operation went well, and after 5 hrs we were taken to his bedside in ICU. The vision we were greeted with was one of horror!
Callums heart and lungs were so swollen that the surgeon wasn’t able to close his chest over, and too add to that, he had lost a lot of blood and was a horrible white/gray colour, To be blunt he looked as though he was dead! It was a sight I will never forget.

After a couple of days the swelling had gone down a bit and the surgeon was able to close his chest. That weekend his condition worsened, and we were stopped from seeing him on occasions, we were also told that he wasn’t doing very well and we had to be prepared for whatever outcome was ahead. Fortunately the Doctors managed to get his condition stabilized and he made it through the weekend.

The next few days were pretty static, we would be at his bedside from early morning to late at night, everyday! We were also able to move out of the Queen Mothers hospital, and were given a room in the Ronald McDonald House, which is a great organisation that house families of sick children in hospital and it enables the families to be close by.

After a while it was obvious that things were moving a bit too slowly! We were told there was a problem, and they couldn’t understand why they weren’t able to get Callum of the Ventilator, we were also told Callum had caught an infection that required antibiotics, That his diaphram was semi paralysed and if it didn’t get better would require an Operation, His heart rhythm was out of sync, and he had to go on an external Pacemaker, We were also told that his stomach had developed a disease, and he was too be fasted for 7 days for it too clear up, and if it didn’t it would require surgery also. That wasn’t a good day!
Fortunately all those problems sorted themselves out, and they didn’t require any further treatment. Except for the ventilator, he was still reliant on it. It was decided to take him to the Cath Lab for a Cardiac Catheter operation, where they thread a catheter into his femoral artery and thread it up into his heart to look for any problem that might be hampering his recovery.
What they found was that the co-artation repair had narrowed slightly and the pressures there weren’t that good, so they were able to insert a balloon and stretch the narrowing slightly. They also went into the heart to check everything there, and found an Aneurysm had formed on the surface of the heart, something that would need regular scans to keep and eye on it! Also at that time they performed a Bronchoscope on him to check his wind pipe, fortunately that proved to be clear.

The procedure in the Cath lab seemed to make the difference and after nearly 6weeks in ICU the Doctors were able to get Callum of the ventilator and out of ICU and into the High Dependency Unit in the Cardiac ward.

Things went pretty well there and after a fortnight with Callum 8 ½ wks old we were able to leave hospital with our precious little boy and become a proper family.

Regular Scans had shown that a wall on the heart has started to thicken and it would require further scans and medication to keep an eye on it.

We go too the Cardiac clinic at Yorkhill every second Friday, for Scans and checkups to see if anything’s changed. Unfortunately the second visit too the clinic proved that the wall was continuing to thicken, Bad news as if it closed over the camber in the heart it would kill Callum.
We were asked to admit Callum to hospital 2 days later for another Cardiac catheter operation, where they wanted to look at the narrowing artery to see if that was causing the problem, It was, it had narrowed back down and was causing pressure on the heart making it work harder, Again they were able to balloon the narrowing and help relieve some of the pressure, but we were told it wasn’t enough and they would need to operate in the new year to cut out the narrowing in the artery again.
Callum recovered well, and was back home within 3 days, unfortunately he took ill 2 days later and was taken back into hospital, we think the reason was possibly a problem with his medication, he was kept in for observation and we were discharged on Christmas day at lunchtime, so he had Christmas morning in his second home, and Christmas evening in his first home!
But to be honest at Christmas he was 11 ½ weeks old had spent 3 weeks at home and 8 ½ wks in hospital, so not too sure which is his first home!!!!!!

We were back at the hospital yesterday (29/12/05) for another check-up, there we got a mixed report, the consultant was very happy with his heart function, happy that nothing had changed and wants too delay the operation to let him grow and become stronger. But a bit of unexpected new was that they have now found that the Aeortic Valve is now showing signs of narrowing, so again something else to keep an eye on.

So that’s us right upto date, we don’t know whats in front of us in the future, but we are taking every day as it comes, and are savouring every minute of it with Callum. He is a little miricle.

So that is the reason for the Raffle, to try and give something back to the department that saved Callums life on more than one occasion.
We would also really like to thank the wonderful team of nurses and Doctors in ICU and in the Cardiac Ward 5a, also the great work his consultant and Surgeon have done on making him better.

Sorry for waffling on, it doesn’t seem to be much of an edited version, but it was an episode in our lives that we don’t regret and wouldn’t change, its made us better people and appreciate everything all the more.

Thankyou to everyone on the forum for all the support they have given us through the difficult period, and we wish everyone a very merry Christmas and a happy new year.

Regards to all,

Alistair, Kirsty and soldier Callum.

Below are some pics of Callum for those who have never seen him before.

Callum 5 Days old, before he took ill.

Callum In ICU

Callum on the road to recovery.

Callum at home, Looking well.
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