A 18-month-old Canberra girl has become one of Australia’s youngest organ donors, after her unexpected death on Boxing Day.
Ezabella ‘Bella’ Wilson died at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne and her aunt Hailee McArdell said Ezabella had left behind “the best gift that could save someone else’s life”, after her heart was able to be donated to another child.
In a recent interview with the ABC, Hailee said that her niece was a “happy and amazing little girl, despite being born with severe health conditions.”
Ezabella was born with a rare form of chromosome deletion disorder and also diagnosed with Tracheoesophageal Fistula (TOF), which meant she was unable to swallow.
“She spent a fair amount of time in the hospital after being born, she had an operation on day one of her life … to attach her oesophagus to her stomach,” Hailee said. “But even with all of that, she was always happy and everyone just loved her.”
“She had three surgeries in her short little life and that was always in Sydney,” she said.”As far as I’m aware there are only about 50 children in the whole world that have been diagnosed with this particular chromosome deletion. I have three sisters, we all have children and no-one ever expects this to happen to your own family.”
Hailee explained to the ABC that Ezabella’s condition had not been expected to deteriorate so rapidly, despite the fact that Ezabella was always slightly unwell.
She said that after attending a routine doctor’s appointment the paediatrician admitted her to hospital after Ezabella became slightly unwell on the night of December 21.
Hailee explained further that after Ezabella was admitted her condition deteriorated very quickly throughout the day and her heart stopped before she could be transferred to a higher care hospital.
After doctor’s managed to restart her heart, Ezabella was placed on life support where she remained for the next few days while doctors tried to save her life.
Hailee described the hard decision that Ezabella’s parents had to make when Ezabella’s condition deteriorated further
“On Boxing Day, [Ezabella’s parents] Naomi and Nick sat us all down and said that it was time to say goodbye, this would be the last time we ever see Bella,” she said. “I lay my head on her chest and her little heart was beating so it didn’t feel right saying goodbye.It never felt real and it was really hard to leave that day knowing it would be the last time.”
Hailee told the ABC that the family had already made the decision to donate Ezabella’s organs if the worst should happen, and a day after she died her heart was given to another child.
“For me I feel like it wasn’t all for nothing, she was saving someone else’s life,” she said.”And I think it would have been the nicest gift to get on Boxing Day, to hear that your child will be receiving a healthy heart. I like to think that’s the best gift Bella could have given.”
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