Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Luke Was Only Five but He Touched So Many Lives; MUM'S TRIBUTE AFTER SWINE FLU CLAIMS HER SON

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Luke Was Only Five but He Touched So Many Lives; MUM'S TRIBUTE AFTER SWINE FLU CLAIMS HER SON

Article excerpt

Byline: LISA HUTCHINSON

FOR five years he battled for survival - only for a strain of swine flu to cause his heart to finally give up.

Luke Ross was born with only half a heart, and at just eight weeks he had his first of five open-heart surgery operations.

But in a cruel twist of fate, it was the swine flu virus which finally brought on his death.

And as he lay in intensive care, Luke's hero Alan Shearer signed a Tshirt with the words "To Luke, a true super hero" as his family wiped away their tears.

Today his grieving mother paid tribute to her son.

Clutching photographs she had taken only days before he died, she told how he was born a fighter.

"He arrived into this world in my arms and he left this world in my arms.

"I lay on the hospital bed and cuddled him as he went. I was distraught, my baby had gone," said mum Cheryl, 39.

Five-year-old Luke first underwent open-heart surgery at eight weeks. The second was at three months old, a third at one year, another at two years and the last one was when he was three.

Cheryl, of Amherst Road, Fawdon, Newcastle, said: "He had been through so much. He was born with half a heart and had five operations to get the heart to work more efficiently. He had an artificial valve put in and then that closed.

"Luke was due to go back into hospital this month to get it opened again, but obviously that didn't happen.

"On September 28, he was ill. I was worried so I took him to the Freeman Hospital for a check-up. They called in a consultant and he said that he was sure it was swine flu. They sent away swabs and he was right.

"Luke was put in isolation but he got worse, and two days later he was transferred to the intensive care unit. He was having breathing problems and his body couldn't cope.

"They put him on a ventilator but Luke had a massive cardiac arrest. It took the doctors one hour and 15 minutes to bring him back around.

"He was put on a machine to help his heart pump. He was on that for a week and his heart started working by itself, so he was weaned off it.

"At this stage we were told that when he had the heart attack, his brain had been starved of oxygen and he was brain damaged. …

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