Baby given devastating diagnosis after visiting A&E for suspected cold sore

Bertie was diagnoed with a hole in his heart.
-Credit: (Image: SWNS)

A newborn baby was diagnosed with a hole in his heart - after being rushed to a hospital A&E department with a suspected cold sore. Gabrielle Bryan and Tyler Rees took Bertie to the hospital after noticing a blister on his lip just six days after he was born in February.

Medics informed the couple from Gloucester that the blister was not a cause for concern - but noticed a heart murmur in the infant. The next day, they learned Bertie had a ventricular septal defect (VSD), or a 'hole in his heart.'

"When Bertie was six days old, we took him into hospital for a little lesion on his lip," said Army sergeant Gabrielle. "We thought it might have been a cold sore, which can be quite dangerous for small babies, reports Gloucestershire Live.

"It was then that the doctors picked up the heart murmur, and the next day he was seen by a paediatric cardiologist, who diagnosed him with a large VSD. At this point, we didn’t know much about heart conditions at all, and we were thinking the worst.

"I thought I was going to lose my baby at that point." Terrified, the couple sought out the help of Heart Heroes, a charity that supports children and families of children diagnosed with heart conditions.

Gabrielle and navy hand Tyler felt instant relief after they met other parents and children who had been through the same experience - and quickly decided they needed to give back.

Gabrielle Bryan and Tyler Rees with Bertie.
Gabrielle Bryan and Tyler Rees with Bertie. -Credit:SWNS

"I’d seen a poster on the wall in the hospital for Heart Heroes, and we went along when Bertie was about three weeks old," said Gabrielle.

"I went to that group and met other parents and met children who had been through it all and worse as well. We could see how they were thriving and we got advice from the other parents as well.

"When we first found out, we felt so alone. I knew nothing about heart conditions and I genuinely thought we were going to lose him. To receive that support keeps us going. I also want to help others who are going to be in my situation in the future."

The couple have now started fundraising efforts alongside friends, completing various physical challenges to raise money for the Heart Heroes charity.

Gabrielle Bryan© SWNS
Baby Bertie picured in hospital. -Credit:Gabrielle Bryan© SWNS

Gabrielle's pals and coworkers Sgt Rachel Harle and Corporal Amy Trimnell have raised £650 to date, with plans to complete 5km of burpees on 12 June in a challenge called "Burpees for Bertie," whilst Tyler's friends at Smiths Rugby will also be running the Cheltenham Half Marathon to support the cause.

Smiths Rugby has already managed to raise a whopping £3,142 through a Combination Cup Final and for the half marathon, which is due to take place on September 1.

"My partner plays for Smiths Rugby in Cheltenham, and we wanted to run the half marathon, so we asked everybody in the team if they wanted to raise money for Heart Heroes – and now basically the whole team is running the half marathon on 1 September," said Gabrielle.

"The rugby club also put on a Combination Cup fundraising day, which raised £1000 as well. From there, some of my friends from the military saw that we had been fundraising, and they wanted to do some fundraising as well, because they know how much the charity has helped us."

Gabrielle and Tyler hope to continue raising money for the charity - and also want to highlight the importance of looking out for heart conditions during pregnancy.

"I think heart conditions should be brought up more during pregnancy," said Gabrielle.

"Often, these heart conditions can be picked up while they’re in the womb, but we didn’t find out until he was six days old. There are petitions out there for scans to be given out across the country, because right now they’re not, and that’s how things get missed.

"I want to be there to provide support like people have supported me. This money will help Heart Heroes to continue to support people." Founder of Heart Heroes, Kelly Cornish, said: "Heart Heroes founded in 2018 and has been dedicated to supporting children with lifelong heart conditions and their families, like Bertie’s.

"We are thrilled to see Amy and Rachel taking on their incredible challenge for our charity. It's heartwarming to witness families like Bertie’s surrounded by the love and support of our community, friends, and family."

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