13 March 2009

Brave two-year-old faces hours of spinal surgery

Mar 3 2009 by Helen Rae, Evening Chronicle

A LITTLE boy who was born with an extra half-vertebrae is set to have a major operation to correct his spine.

Jack Sundin, two, of Whitley Bay, could not have had a more difficult start to life.

He was born with a range of serious health problems, including congenital scoliosis hemivertebrae, a curvature of the spine that is the result of an extra half-vertebrae. Now consultants at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital have told his parents Lisa, 33, and Alistair, 43, that their son’s spine is curving quicker than expected.

In the next few weeks the youngster will need an MRI and CT scan before the six-hour operation.

Speaking from their home in Hertford Close, Beaumont Park, Mrs Sundin said: “We found out before Christmas that Jack’s spine was out by 33° and within 10 weeks that has moved to 45°.

“We’ve been told he needs to have an operation as soon as possible and there’s a 50% chance there could be other medical problems as his curved spine could be putting pressure on his internal organs.

“We knew Jack would need an operation on his back in the future but we never expected it to be this quick.”

After the operation Jack, who also lives with his siblings Hollie Graham-Scott, eight, and James Holmes, 14, will be put in a back brace.

Jack was born prematurely at 32 weeks and was also diagnosed with a hole in the heart and defective valves – and tracheo-oesophageal fistula, where the bottom end of the food pipe is joined to the windpipe.

Within days of being born, he had a major operation to rectify his foodpipe abnormality. Last April the youngster had open heart surgery at the Freeman Hospital. Jack has also been diagnosed with chronic lung disease.

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