'Happy, funny little girl' spends second birthday in coma after virus complications

A "happy, funny little girl" has spent her second birthday in an induced coma after suffering complications from a virus. Emily Church thought her daughter Hannah just had a cold, but she was later sent to hospital with heart failure as a complication of the HPIV (human parainfluenza virus).

Emily is heartbroken that her daughter wasn't awake to see her birthday: "We went to the hospital to celebrate, but she was in coma. So we were saying 'happy birthday' and she didn't even know."

Hannah is a bright, bubbly girl who loves dancing, food, "causing trouble", and playing with her three older brothers. She was healthy before she became unwell with HPIV and was rushed to Royal United Hospital in Bath, before later being transferred to Bristol Royal Children's Hospital.

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Emily was shocked by how quickly her condition deteriorated: "She went from playing in the park with a cough and cold to being in red alert in four, five hours. You know it's serious when it goes from one nurse, one doctor to 22 doctors and nurses in one room."

It was discovered that her heart had swollen and that she had to be placed in a coma. Tests eventually revealed she had HPIV, which Emily had not heard of before.

The CDC describes HPIV as something commonly effecting young children. While most children get better at home, it can sometimes cause serious conditions such as pneumonia.

Emily is scared by how little awareness there is of the virus: she says not a single person she's told about Hannah's condition has heard of it before. She would like it to receive the same level of awareness as conditions like sepsis.

Emily, her husband, and their three boys visit Hannah every evening at Bristol Royal Children's Hospital all the way from Midsomer Norton. Emily is awake now, but they don't have a set date for her to be go home yet, and Emily has been told that she may have heart problems for the rest of her life. She will also have to learn to walk again.

When she's well enough to come home, the birthday party she missed out on will be waiting for her: "I have cake pops in the freezer just frozen in time waiting. All her birthday presents are wrapped up waiting, so we're definitely going to celebrate hrt 'welcome home, happy birthday party'."

Emily would like to thank NHS staff, who she says have been amazing. Hannah's family are raising money for her to go on her first holiday when she's better, and for Bristol Royal Children's Hospital. You can donate online.