‘Little miracle’ defies odds to celebrate first birthday at Annesley home

A 'little miracle’ has defied the odds to spend her first birthday at home in Annesley.

Tuesday, 25th June 2019, 4:07 pm
Penelope Marriott

Penelope Marriott, who was born with a rare and life-threatening abnormality of the abdomen, was showered with love and gifts when she celebrated her first birthday at home.

Penelope was born with Exomphalos Major, a condition which results in the abdomen not being developed normally in the womb.

After a year of life-saving care and treatment from experts at Queen's Medical Centre's Nottingham Children’s Hospital, Penelope celebrated her landmark birthday at her home in Annesley, before returning to hospital.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Penelope Marriott

It is hoped that she will be able to go home permanently in the next couple of months.

Penelope’s mother, Racheal Marriott, said: “If you’d have told me in February that Penelope would be able to come home in the summer, I wouldn’t have believed it.

"When the surgeon, Mr Colliver, talked about the procedures she would need after the birth, especially to the heart, we weren’t sure Penelope would survive.

"But thanks to all the team at QMC, who have been absolutely fantastic, we’ve been able to take our little girl home for her birthday.

“When she’s home for good we know she’ll thrive with the rest of the family around her.”

Dr David Thomas, consultant paediatrician in the long-term ventilation team at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust (NUH), said: “Exomphalos Major is caused when a part of the abdominal wall is missing, so the bowel and liver are outside of the abdominal cavity.

"Penelope’s case is extremely severe and she has undergone a number of procedures to her heart as well as her abdomen. She also needs help to breathe from a ventilator as her lungs are too small.”

“She’s suffered life-threatening episodes on several occasions, but to see her as she is now, with a much more positive outlook, makes the prospect of going home on a long-term basis a reality.”

Penelope has now been declared medically stable which means that medics are confident her condition can be managed at home with the right support.

Adele Frost, NUH’s long-term ventilation nurse specialist, said: “We’re now in the phase of co-ordinating Penelope’s discharge, so that’s about making sure the family’s home is ready with all of the necessary equipment, securing the care at home support and training parents and carers.”

“The great thing is that the parents have been driving this, like us they know that Penelope’s progress will be greater when she’s at home. It’s amazing now to be at this point, Penelope has been one of the most complex cases I’ve been involved in. She’s a little miracle!”