Unable to breathe at birth, newborn baby was quickly transferred to a hospital 30 miles from home where he stayed for 15 months - leaving his parents with nowhere to sleep

  • Titin myopathy is a disorder that causes severe muscle weakness
  • Baby Oliver was diagnosed with the condition after being unable to breathe at birth and was immediately transferred to Southampton General Hospital
  • This hospital was 30 miles from his parents' home, leaving them with nowhere to stay whilst their son was an inpatient there
  • However, the Ronald McDonald House became a lifeline for the couple

Written by Callum Patterson for DonateToday

PUBLISHED: 11:31, 6th Sep 2017 | UPDATED: 16:53, 26th Sep 2017

Choice

When Oliver was born in Basingstoke Hospital, he could not breathe. 

Having assessed the new-born, medical professionals took the decision to transfer him to Southampton General Hospital where he was diagnosed with titin myopathy, a disorder that causes muscle weakness. 

Oliver was diagnosed with titian myopathy after being unable to breathe at birth

Following their son to the coast, parents Lauren and Darren suddenly found they had nowhere to stay. 

They were 30 miles from their home, didn’t know the area, didn’t have any friends or relatives close-by and had no way of knowing how long their son would be in hospital. 

The new parents were faced with the choice of making a 60-mile trip every day to visit their son or paying for accommodation in the more immediate vicinity of the hospital. 

‘Everything felt new and intimidating to us,’ recalls Darren, speaking to the Ronald McDonald House Charities website. 

"Thanks to the House, we could be at his bedside in a moment's notice."

- Darren, Oliver's father

A Moment's Notice

However, help was at hand. ‘The ward at Southampton General told us we could stay at Ronald McDonald House; that it would be free; and that we could stay there until Oliver was ready to go home,’ says Darren. 

‘For the first 15 months of Oliver’s life, Lauren and I lived on the third floor at the House, a room called Merchant Hall.’

Ronald McDonald House became the couple’s home. A well-furnished kitchen was useful, but the most important and beneficial aspect of life at the charity house was its proximity to Southampton General, and their son. 

‘When your child is unwell, every moment is precious,’ says Darren. 

‘You don’t want to be away from them any longer than you have to. Thanks to the House, we could be at his bedside in a moment’s notice.’

The Ronald McDonald House provides families with a free  'home away from home' when their child is in hospital
Little Oliver was transferred to a hospital 30 miles away from his parent's home and stayed for 15 months

"When your child is unwell, every moment is precious."

- Darren, Oliver's father

True Value

On 21 March 2017, Oliver was discharged from hospital and able to go home. Since then, ‘Oliver has had to come back into hospital a few times,’ Darren admits. 

‘Thankfully, only for short stays and each time we have been able to stay at the House. The staff have been amazing.

‘We couldn’t have imagined at the start that we would have needed to stay at the Southampton House for as long as we did,’ Darren continues. ‘Our friends and family have been busy fundraising, and we’re aiming to raise £5,000 so that we can sponsor Merchant Hall in Oliver’s name. 

'We know the true value of a Ronald McDonald house, and every penny donated means a family doesn’t have to commute or sleep in the car or a camp bed.’

Please note that names may have been changed to protect the privacy of those involved. Images are used for illustrative purposes only and, unless specified, persons included in images are posed models, not the persons mentioned in the article.