A 6-month-old girl got a guard of honor from health care workers at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool, England, after defeating COVID-19 following open heart surgery.
Emma and Wayne Bates had their “miracle child” Erin on Oct. 8, 2019, after trying to have a baby for 10 years. One month later, they were heartbroken to learn that Erin was born with a heart condition called Tetralogy of Fallot. Their daughter went into the hospital for open-heart surgery in December and has been recovering there since the operation.
During the second week of April, Emma Bates and doctors noticed that Erin was very uncomfortable and her temperature had spiked. The medical staff tested the 6-month-old for the novel coronavirus.
Two days later, the test came back positive.
“I was devastated,” Bates 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.”
Hospital staff quarantined both Bates and her daughter Erin in a room together, telling Bates that if her child had COVID-19 she was likely to contract the virus as well. Bates was never tested and never showed symptoms, but she has stayed in the room with her daughter, isolated for weeks.
“It’s been very lonely. I couldn’t have my husband there,” Bates said. “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.”
While isolation was both lonely and scary, Bates credits the health care staff at Alder Hey for lifting their spirits and making sure she and her daughter had everything they needed.
“They’ve all formed a really strong bond with Erin because we’ve been in the hospital for so long so they all absolutely adore her,” Bates said. “The doctors and nurses have gone above and beyond to try to ease this journey for us. They are superheroes.”
On April 24, Erin officially beat COVID-19 and was moved out of isolation. The staff, who has been caring for the 6-month-old for many months, decided to celebrate her with a “guard of honor.” They lined the halls of the hospital and clapped as doctors wheeled Erin’s crib out of her isolated hospital room.
The send-off was a surprise to Bates who says her eyes welled with tears as she watched the hospital staff celebrate her daughter.
“It just meant so much to me,” Bates 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 will remain at the hospital for what could be up to six months as she builds the strength to breathe on her own without machines following her surgery and COVID-19 battle. Bates says because of COVID-19, Erin’s father Wayne will not be able to see her in person until she has recovered and can be brought home.
“We FaceTime him every day,” Bates says “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.”