Brave Bobby ready for third operation

Emma Doherty and John Baldwin with 11-month-old son Bobby
Emma Doherty and John Baldwin with 11-month-old son Bobby

A brave toddler is preparing to have open-heart surgery for the third time in his short life.

Eighteen-month-old Bobby Baldwin will return to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool within weeks for vital surgery.

Coming home after two weeks, we thought he would be operation-free for years but it’s not gone that way I’m afraid

Emma Doherty

It has been a rollercoaster few months for the tot’s parents Emma Doherty and John Baldwin, who live in Worsley Mesnes.

Bobby has three holes in his heart and was born with major aortopulmonary collateral arteries, which means blood cannot pump round his body because he has no pulmonary arteries.

He had major surgery on his heart, diaphragm and stomach at just six weeks old.

And on September 5, he had his second open-heart surgery, which appeared to go well.

Emma said: “We were home with him for two weeks and we were meant to be there for over six months, so he did amazingly well.”

Doctors did find there was a lot of pressure on Bobby’s heart and lungs, so they put him on medication to help.

Emma said his oxygen levels were high and he was doing well.

But she was dealt a blow two weeks later, when doctors found a narrowing on Bobby’s heart, affecting the blood circulating between his heart and lungs.

Bobby went into hospital on Wednesday for surgery to open the artery using a cardiac catheter.

Emma said: “It was quite bad news that the narrowing was smaller than they thought. They thought the balloon would make it wider but it didn’t work.

“There is nothing they can physically do.”

While doctors cannot address the narrowing on the right-hand side of his heart, they do want to carry out open-heart surgery within four weeks on the left side.

It should help blood to circulate around his body and Bobby will not be out of breath.

Bobby has now gone home while his family wait for the date of his surgery.

Emma said: “Coming home after two weeks, we thought he would be operation-free for years but it’s not gone that way I’m afraid.

“We will just have to hope. They might get in touch with Great Ormond Street to see if they can do the right-hand side.”

Emma praised everyone who had supported the family, including more than 1,600 people on the Bobby’s Bravery Facebook page.

She said: “The support has been great. Wigan has come together and helped us all as a family. We are very grateful for that.”