Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

WEIRD SCIENCE; from Cowskin and Horse Blood to Viagra and Yoghurt, Medics on Tyneside Are Using Weird and Wonderful Things to Save Patients' Lives. Health Reporter JANE PICKEN Finds out More

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

WEIRD SCIENCE; from Cowskin and Horse Blood to Viagra and Yoghurt, Medics on Tyneside Are Using Weird and Wonderful Things to Save Patients' Lives. Health Reporter JANE PICKEN Finds out More

Article excerpt

Byline: JANE PICKEN

AS A severely premature baby clinging on to life, little Lewis Goodfellow's prospects did not look good.

But when doctors started using Viagra to boost his lungs, the baby went on to make a remarkable recovery and today, at nearly two years old, Lewis is set to accompany parents Jade Goodfellow and John Barclay, from Seaton Burn, down the aisle later in the year.

Lewis, who was treated by experts at the special baby care unit, in Newcastle's Royal Victoria Infirmary, was one of just a handful of poorly babies to be given Viagra, and others have benefited from equally unusual treatments.

Dr Alan Fenton, from the unit, said: "When we talk to parents about using Viagra they are well aware the conventional treatment is failing.

"We explain that with a small number of babies Viagra has worked.

"It opens the blood vessels and arteries and that is why it is used in impotency. With neo-natal lung disease there is not enough blood going into the lungs and it improves the blood supply to the lungs, allowing oxygen to be taken around the body."

Last week, the Chronicle told how 74-year-old Elsie Close, from Gosforth, had a hole in her heart patched up with cowskin.

And 14-year-old Cara Heaney, from Killingworth, hit the headlines when she was given products taken from horse blood to combat bone marrow failure.

In 2005 plastic surgeons at Newcastle's pioneering burns unit at the RVI revealed they were using a treatment made from shark fins.

Experts told how they were using an artificial skin template, made from the fin, to help patients with severe and deep burns.

The template, also made up of a cow's Achilles tendon, tricks the body into creating new skin cells which grow over the burn. And the unit was the only one in the North to use this treatment.

Teenager Rebecca Durham, from Rowlands Gill, Gateshead, was one of the first to benefit following an accident in 2005, when she burned her face and thigh on a car's exhaust. …

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