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Premature baby Rohan had trouble breathing for 16 months

Tara Rooney-Bell and her baby Rohan, who nearly died a year ago (Andrew Cawley/DC Thomson)
Tara Rooney-Bell and her baby Rohan, who nearly died a year ago (Andrew Cawley/DC Thomson)

It’s little wonder she’s so anxious after what little Rohan has been through in his 16 months.

Tara and husband John, from Castle Douglas, thought they’d lost him when he began choking and then stopped breathing at just 11 days old, having been born more than three weeks’ premature.

His parents noticed he had a stuffy nose but put it down to flu that John and their other sons, Seth, six, and Ethan, two, had.

When he stopped feeding and paused when breathing, Tara and John decided to call the out-of-hours medical service. But then Rohan vomited and started choking.

It was the beginning of a nightmare period.

“When he stopped breathing, it was like my world was ending,” Tara recalled.

“He was a blue-grey colour. Thankfully, the ambulance arrived just 10 minutes later and they got him breathing.”

The tot was rushed to Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary, where he had further episodes.

Tara said: “The head paediatrician, Dr Jean McKnight, told us he had bronchiolitis but thought there was something else wrong. She said he was a critically poorly little boy.”

Rohan was moved to Yorkhill in Glasgow, where Respiratory Syncytial Virus was also diagnosed. It’s a common condition and usually mild, but can be more dangerous in babies.

“Seeing him connected to all of the equipment keeping him alive broke my heart,” Tara continued.

“I was swallowed with a feeling of helplessness because there was nothing I could do – it was a fight he had to make himself.”

Rohan also developed a bacterial infection, pneumonia and his upper right lung collapsed. Tara never left the hospital, only seeing John, Seth and Ethan once in nearly a month.

“The day he opened an eye, I cried like a baby. That was when I knew he was going to be ok and he wanted to come back to me,” she said.

On January 22 last year, Rohan was transferred back to DGRI and five days later was allowed home.

“He was tiny, just 6lbs 1oz, and although it was amazing to bring him home I was also terrified.”

Tara and John were given invaluable support by the Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity and Ronald McDonald House Charities.

Unfortunately Rohan has since had to deal with sepsis, a severe urinary tract infection, asthmatic issues and an operation for a kidney problem.

He’ll also need surgery to remove his tonsils and adenoids to deal with obstructive sleep apnoea, but overall his health is looking up and he continues to bring a smile to his family’s face.

Tara added: “It does upset me that Rohan had to go through so much but it shows his character.

“He’s doing fantastic now.

“Our little fighter has been through so much in such a short amount of time but not once did the smile leave his face. He is such a happy little boy who lights up our lives.”


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