Birthday joy for boy who nearly died

A family photo of Nathan Latimer during his first birthday party on Saturday.
A family photo of Nathan Latimer during his first birthday party on Saturday.

A Wallsend couple celebrated their son’s first birthday on Saturday – a day that could have been very difficult for them as he became seriously ill with a mystery illness and nearly lost his life shortly after being born.

From being a seemingly healthy baby, Nathan Latimer had to be rushed to the Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI) in Newcastle at just five days old as he was stiff and struggling to breathe.

Mum Lana Corbett and dad Kyle Latimer had to prepare to say goodbye if he did not wake up. Thankfully, although the cause was unknown, he managed to fight it over the following three weeks and managed to come round from his coma.

Nathan still has regular hospital appointments, but his parents are delighted with his progress.

They have also thanked The Sick Children’s Trust, a charity that runs free Home from Home accommodation next to hospitals for families with a seriously ill child.

Lana said: “After being taken to the RVI, Nathan’s condition started to get worse as the doctors carried out numerous tests. He was finding it harder and harder to breathe on his own, so he was admitted to the paediatric intensive care unit (PICU) and put into an induced coma.

“We never saw this coming. Nathan had been perfectly healthy, but out of the blue turned into a seriously ill baby who was fighting for his life. We were prepared for the worst outcome.

“I didn’t once think that I wouldn’t be able to stay with my baby, which I couldn’t do as he was on PICU where there are no beds for parents.

“Thankfully, the nurses told us about Crawford House, run by The Sick Children’s Trust. It is located within the hospital grounds and was just a few minutes’ walk from the hospital.

“As we walked through the house whilst being shown around it, we just felt so much better knowing we had this stability. Crawford House was spacious, homely and welcoming.

“We were shown to our private room, which smelt of fresh linen and beautifully decorated.

“We knew from then that we would be able to sleep peacefully in a comfy bed and felt reassured knowing that if Nathan needed us when we weren’t by his side, the ward had a direct telephone line to the room that we could be reached on.

“It was important to us to be there to give him a kiss every morning and night.

“Over the following three weeks, Nathan proved the doctors wrong.

“We still don’t know what actually made Nathan so poorly. We think it could’ve been sepsis, strep B or meningitis.

“What we do know is that without the support of The Sick Children’s Trust, we wouldn’t have been able to spend as much time with our son while he was working so hard for survival.

“I’m pleased to say that Nathan is doing amazingly now. He still has regular check-ups at the hospital, but is a very happy little boy.

“Nathan’s birthday was great – we all had a great day.

“He enjoyed ripping open his presents (with help from his sisters) and enjoyed trying all the different foods.”