Father ‘helpless’ as he waits for a new heart for his baby son
Carter Cookson may only have hours to live as the search for a donor heart continues.
The parents of a baby boy who desperately needs a new heart have said they feel “helpless” as they wait for an organ donor.
Sarah and Chris Cookson have been told that a heart transplant is the only hope of saving their son Carter, who may only have a few days to live.
Carter was born prematurely at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary on Boxing Day.
Mr and Mrs Cookson, from South Shields, lost their first son, Charlie, at the age of two in 2013 after he had battled a mysterious, progressive condition.
Now, the pair face losing their second son to heart problems if a donor heart cannot be found.
Carter underwent surgery just a week after his birth, but the operation to drain one side of his heart and install a pacemaker was not as successful as hoped.
He is now being kept alive with the help of an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) machine, which is pumping blood around his body.
His parents have been told that complications with the machine mean that he may have only hours or a few days to live.
In an interview with the BBC, Mr Cookson, 40, said that if the machine fails “we have only got one choice and that’s to turn his machine off”.
He added: “If we were to turn his machine off, he could not survive. We would pretty much lose our son there and then. As parents you have to give your son a fighting chance of survival.”
He said the family has “hours, maybe days” to find a new heart for Carter and if they do not find one, “we do not get to take our son home”.
Mr Cookson added: “We are helpless right now, it’s in the hands of a donor coming forward and donating a heart for my son.”
Following the death of their first son, the pair set up the Charlie Cookson Foundation in a bid to support other families with seriously ill children.
Mrs Cookson, 44, has said in a statement: “We have already lost one son and if we can’t find a donor straight away, we now face the prospect of losing our second beautiful baby boy.
“It’s just the most terrible experience imaginable.
“I just hope there may be some family out there who can identify with our heartbreak and may be able to help.”
Family friend Angela Moore has launched a GoFundMe page in a bid to raise money in order to support the couple, and has so far raised over £1,800.
She said: “Sarah and Chris are suffering so much pain and heartache at the moment as they watch their new born, second son, Carter John, fight for his life.
“Since their older son Charlie gained his angel wings, they have dedicated their lives to raising much needed funds to help families of children with life limiting conditions.
“But now I’m appealing for any other families out there to step forward and help them.
“If there are any parents out there grieving the loss of their own child, please consider organ donation so you could possibly save another child’s life.”