Baby Oscar is ‘doing well’

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THE mother of a brave little Portstewart boy who finally underwent a bone marrow transplant last Monday says he is “extremely vulnerable”, but doing well.

Oscar McLaughlin spent Christmas and the New Year in hospital after being diagnosed with Server Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID) in December – a condition where the immune system is so highly compromised that it is considered almost absent.

The rare disorder, also known as the ‘bubble boy’ disease, makes Oscar so extremely vulnerable to infection that he must be kept in a bubble-like sterile environment in order to avoid catching life-threatening diseases or infections.

Nine-month-old Oscar took seriously ill with double pneumonia before Christmas and was transferred to the intensive care unit in The Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast a week later where they diagnosed the SCID.

He was subsequently flown to the Great North Children’s Hospital in Newcastle - which specialises in treating the disorder - and underwent a bone marror transplant last week.

His parents, Olivia and Pearse, have kept a beside vigil and now hope and pray that their son makes a full recovery.

Olivia told The Coleraine Times: “Oscar had his transplant on Monday (February 13) so now he has the beginning of a new immune system.

“The next couple of weeks he will feel the effects of the chemotherapy which he undertook between February 5 and 11.

“The six weeks immediately after his transplant he’ll be extremely vulnerable as he waits for his new immune system to engraft and become stronger.

“At the minute Oscar is doing well. Every day a blood count is completed to monitor when his new cells will begin to grow and develop. We receive immense support from all staff on the ward.

“Currently Pearse and I are with Oscar. We are hoping that in six weeks time Oscar will be well enough for Pearse to return home and return to work. We are both hoping that Oscar will be well enough to return home in June of this year.”

Olivia also praised the tremendous support the family has received from the Bubble Foundation.

She explained: “The Bubble Foundation provide us with our accommodation. However, their primary focus is on the research into the treatment of immunodeficiency conditions in children.

“Any funds raised will be going to the Bubble Foundation and not to Pearse and myself. We are very thankful for the support we have had already. It is greatly appreciated.

“There has been a page set up for the Bubble Foundation in Oscar’s name and already it has raised £1,880 so we are delighted and thankful to those who have already donated.”

Olivia added that the family hopes that Oscar’s immune system will get develop over the coming weeks and the transplant will “make him better for life.