Saturday, July 10, 2010

English Heroes #8

An occasional series recording Englishmen, women and children who have done great things for themselves or others and reflected well on the country of their birth.

Step forward Alice Hipkiss ( Age 6) her family and the medical team at Great Ormond Street Hospital.

Six-year-old Alice Hipkiss is now a picture of health but she has lived for for more than seven months with an artificial heart pumping blood around her body to keep her alive. 

She lived with the device, called a Berlin Heart, for 228 days - longer than anyone else in Britain.
Alice had been ill almost since birth.The left side of her heart did not work properly, meaning she would eventually need a transplant. 
It was thought, however, that she would be too weak to have articial heart device fitted. But her parents Liz and David, Hopkiss, of Yarnton in Oxfordshire, refused to give up on her.
The machine was eventually fitted, to keep her alive by taking up the work of her dangerously weakened heart, while she grew strong enough to have a full heart transplant.
Shortly after the transplant at Great Ormond Street Hospital, in central London, she suffered another setback when she developed cancer due to the strong drugs she was taking. But she beat the cancer and is now enjoying a normal life.
Her father David said she is his 'dancing princess'.
"I pinch myself every day. We have been through high and lows and we have come through," he said.
They are eternally grateful to the family who allowed their child's heart to be donated.
Mr Hopkiss, who is chief executive of a pharmceutical technology company in Oxford, said: "We wouldn't be here without the wonderful gift of a family who we will never know. We think about them every day“, he said.
Whilst there a some out there who may not think Alice particularly heroic, nonetheless, she triumphed in adversary, and is an example of the very best that an English hospital can do.
Alice Hipkiss, this blog salutes you and wishes you long life and happiness.
This blog also salutes the medical team at Great Ormond Street Hospital who kept a little girl alive despite all the odds against her.


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