DEVASTATED parents kept a bedside vigil alongside their eight-month-old daughter as she slipped in and out of a coma after being diagnosed as the youngest person in the North East for 20 years to have diabetes.
Beaming Lucy Owens is thankfully now a picture of health, but the scare was a terrifying time for Hartlepool couple Jonathan and Vikki Owens who were warned she may not make it through.
Lucy, who has since turned one, has been fitted with an insulin pump which she will wear for the rest of her life unless she later opts for injections to treat her Type 1 diabetes.
Full-time mum Vikki, 26, said: “It was a very traumatic time and we are just so thankful that she is still here.”
Lucy is now fighting fit at home in Ripon Close with parents and older sisters Grace, six and four-year-old Violet and her family have organised a fun day to help raise funds for Diabetes UK.
Lucy was born on June 10, 2012, weighing 6lbs 5oz and was fine until February this year when she started being sick.
Her worried parents took her to One Life Hartlepool where medics thought she had gastric problems and advised her to come back within 10 days.
But Lucy’s condition worsened overnight and her eyes became dark and sunk, so Vikki and Jonathan took her to their GP where she was transferred straight to the University Hospital of North Tees, in Stockton.
Vikki said: “By the time we had arrived she was in a coma and the doctors took Lucy straight off us.
“I was hysterical.
“At first they couldn’t get access to her veins and they had to drill into her leg through the shin bone so that they could get the fluids into her body.”
It was then that medics broke the devastating news that Lucy was facing three options - she would either pull through, be brain damaged or she could die.
Vikki said: “We were absolutely devastated as you immediately fear the worst.
“I was petrified as Lucy spent two days drifting in and out of consciousness.
“Thankfully she finally started to come round, and that was just the best feeling ever.
“They told us Lucy is the youngest in the North East to be diagnosed over the past 20 years, and one doctor said she was the youngest she had ever seen.”
Dad Jonathan, 28, an electrician at Hartlepool Power Station, said: “It was indescribable the moment she came round, the relief was immense.”
Vikki has thanked medics for saving Lucy’s life and in particular Dr Jagat Jani and Dr Venita Sharma, a specialist in diabetes, who spotted the signs as soon as Lucy, who spent a total of five days in hospital, was admitted.
The youngster - who also had fluid on the brain - was subjected to constant medical treatment including finger pricks to check her blood sugar levels, being hooked up to drips, a catheter and the insulin pump which is a needle into her bottom that works out her insulin levels.
Lucy is also the youngest child in the region to have the pump fitted.
Vikki said: “It was really terrifying at first to see her with this pump, but it is fine now and the nurses and doctors did a fantastic job.
“As soon as we walked in Dr Sharma spotted the signs and even stayed with her after her shifts had finished to check Lucy was doing okay.
“Lucy was born three weeks early and when she was a couple of months old they thought she may have been lactose intolerant, but apart from that there was nothing to suggest she was diabetic.
“That’s why it was hard for her to be diagnosed before we got to the hospital because it is so rare in children so young.”
The fun day - which will include a raffle, bouncy castle, various stalls, a barbecue plus teacup rides - will be held on August 25 between 1pm and 5pm at the Power Station club, off Tees Road.
Jonathan said: “There are advances in technology all the time and it is vital to help support that as much as possible.
“We would urge as many people as possible to come along.”
People can donate raffle prizes by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org