A baby from Beverley, Yorkshire named Ruben Weber-Jackson was having difficulty breathing because of holes in his heart, and had to have two operations recently.
It was a very special kind of tissue that saved his life!
When Ruben was born last year, his parents didn't notice anything was wrong…at first.
His mother said:
"He was pink and everything seemed perfect, really. But in hindsight, there were probably a few little signs, but nothing significant that made us think there was a real problem. I remember saying he was such an easy baby who sleeps a lot and was very calm. He also had swollen eyes and there is one photo we took where his lips looked slightly purple. I just had a niggling feeling something wasn't right. He was breathing funny but I thought I was just being a paranoid parent. But it got worse and I took him to the GP, who sent us to Hull Royal Infirmary."
Scans from the hospital showed the baby had two holes in his heart, and a narrowing of the aorta.
He was immediately brought in for a dangerous open heart operation. He then had to have a second procedure which is where the doctors used the tissue from a cow's heart — something known as a bovine pericardial patch.
And the operation was a complete success!
His mother said:
"There isn't a day that goes by where I don't think about how different our lives could be now -how very close we came to losing him. In some ways, I think he subconsciously knows - he is such a happy baby and he seems to want to make the most out of life. Throughout everything, people kept saying to me, 'I couldn't be as strong as you are'. But the truth is, you don't know how strong you can be until you've not got a choice."
We're so glad that Ruben was able to survive this scary ordeal to experience his first birthday, and hopefully many more after that!
Bravo to everyone involved in the saving of this baby's life! Including the cow and its heart!