A six-month-old baby girl who recently went through open-heart surgery got a guard of honor from health care workers at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool, England, after defeating the novel coronavirus.
Erin Bates, who weighed just 5lbs and 4oz at birth, is the miracle child of Emma and Wayne Bates. The couple has been trying to have a baby for ten years, and they finally got their wish on October 18, 2019 – Erin’s birthday.
The day she came into this world became the happiest day of their lives. Unfortunately, this overflowing joy soon turned into fear a month later. They learned that Erin was born with a rare heart condition called Tetralogy of Fallot and that she had to undergo surgery on her heart and windpipe. In December, she went through with the procedure and had been recovering at the hospital ever since the operation.
Just when they thought the worst was over, Erin contracted the respiratory illness syncytial virus. She was also diagnosed with other conditions affecting her airways, including bronchomalacia and tracheomalacia. After spending months in the ICU, Erin still couldn’t breathe by herself.
Doctors also noticed that she was very uncomfortable and that her temperature had spiked. They tested her for the novel coronavirus, and on April 10, the results came back positive.
“I was devastated,” Emma said. “I was frightened because obviously I read the news and I see all these hundreds and thousands of people dying all across the world, and then they tell me my daughter’s got this virus that’s killing all these people…but I just have to be positive for Erin.”
The mother and daughter had to be quarantined in a room together. Doctors said Emma likely contracted the virus if her baby had it. However, she was never tested for it as she didn’t exhibit any symptoms. Still, she stayed in the room with her daughter. Wayne, on the other hand, had to return to work to support his family.
“It’s been very lonely. I couldn’t have my husband there,” Emma recalled. “I’ve been frightened…some days she had good days and other days she had really bad days. It was the unknown of where Erin was going to go with this virus.”
Isolation was both lonely and scary, but the staff at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital made the situation a lot easier. They lifted her spirits and made sure they always had everything they needed. The medical workers inevitably formed a strong bond with Erin as she had been in the hospital for so long, and they absolutely adored her.
“The doctors and nurses have gone above and beyond to try to ease this journey for us. They are superheroes,” Emma described them.
Finally, good news came on April 24 – Erin has defeated COVID-19! To commemorate the day she moves out of isolation, the health care workers gave her a “guard of honor.” As doctors wheeled Erin’s crib out of her isolated room, the staff lined the corridors and clapped in celebration. Emma couldn’t help but break down in tears because of the touching send-off surprise.
“It just meant so much to me,” she said. “And it means that these doctors and nurses they’re not just there to make your children better but they actually care. They really care about your children.”
Erin could remain at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital for up to six months as she continues to recover her strength and ability to breathe on her own. Because of COVID-19, Wayne has to wait until she goes home to see her in person.
“We FaceTime him every day,” Emma said. “He’s really missing her but he understands why. We’ve got to try to protect the nurses and protect the people and patients inside the hospital so we understand why the rules are in place.”
Watch the video below from Good Morning America to learn more about Erin’s inspiring recovery story.
You can help support the Bates family in paying for Erin’s hospital bills by donating to her GoFundMe.