Though Teri, Colin and Ayla Hutchinson have only known their daughter/sister Britton for two months, they already know she’s a fighter.
On May 13, 2015, the Sicamous family celebrated the birth of their second daughter, Britton Thea Hutchinson at hospital in Edmonton. While she appeared to be a healthy baby girl, the family knew in advance she would be born with a heart condition – a rare congenital heart defect called pulmonary artesia with intact ventricular septum.
It was thought Britton would require a series of surgeries that would allow her heart to function. However, after several tests, it was learned Britton’s coronary arteries are also in poor condition.
“We had no choice but to list Britton for heart transplantation,” write the Hutchinsons on a Facebook page called Baby Britton’s Heart Journey. “The wait for a new heart is completely unknown. Although she was stable on medication allowing her heart to function as though she was still in utero, that would not be sufficient long term.”
Recently, Britton’s condition declined, requiring a trip to the emergency room.
The Hutchinsons state that within a half hour, Britton had gone into cardiac arrest and required CPR for 26 minutes. She was hooked up to an ECMO (extra corporal membrane oxygenation) machine to provide artificial heart and lung support, and doctors were able to get her heartbeat back.
“Today, further investigation and a cardiac catheter procedure revealed a significant blockage in the shunt in Britton’s heart,” the Hutchinsons wrote on July 13. “A stent was inserted inside the shunt to remove the blockage. Doctors are hopeful Britton should be able to be weaned from ECMO before long and her heart should be functional again while she waits for her new heart.”
Because of Britton’s fragile state, she will remain in hospital until she receives a new heart or she is big enough for a procedure to eliminate the shunt. However, the latter will not eliminate the need for a transplant.
Last Friday, the Hutchinsons reported Britton is recovering, that she’s been taken off ECMO and while still in a fragile condition, is improving.
Meanwhile, in the Shuswap, Nikki Stelmak, a close friend of the Hutchinsons, has been looking after the Facebook page, helping to keep people up to date on Britton’s status. She is also overseeing fundraising efforts, both through online donations (e-transfers can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org), and the sale of Britton Bracelets, now available in Salmon Arm at the Garage Furniture Company, InView Optical in the Mall at Piccadilly and, in Sicamous, at Black Dog Clothing Company.
Stelmak says those wishing to make an anonymous donation can do so by contacting her directly, either through Facebook or at 250-803-0059.
For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/groups/BabyBritton/.