How two-year-old Monica who was born with liver and kidney failure is staying strong and ready to take her first steps

Little Monica McDermott is ready to start walking and talking at home after nearly two years in hospital.

By Natalie Walker
Friday, 17th January 2020, 5:00 pm
Updated Friday, 17th January 2020, 5:07 pm

The little tot, who was born with kidney and liver failure after suffering from severe sepsis, has been home for almost six months and has taken her first steps.

She is also showing signs of being able to talk, but is currently hampered by her tracheostomy, which is expected to be removed in the spring.

Monica, who turned two in September, had spent 21 months at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, as she was fed through a tube 24 hours a day and her breathing was aided by a ventilator. She also had an imperforate anus.

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Monica McDermott

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Monica had been showing great signs of improvement but suffered a set back last week after she had to go back to Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, as she was struggling with her breathing.

Her mum, Emma, 30, says: “Monica has had a chest infection and initially needed to be put on oxygen.

“She had a rough night with needing lots of suction and a couple of nebulisers, but she is no longer needing the oxygen.

“The doctors are happy with her as long as she gets more fluid and stays off the oxygen.”

Despite this minor set back, doctors say her kidney function has improved, meaning she may not need a transplant anymore.

Her mum, Emma, 30, says: “Overall, Monica is doing really well.

“She came home in July and has been with us ever since.

“Her last operation was a few months ago to reverse the stomach bag and that has been corrected now.

“We are hoping to get her tracheostomy out in the spring.

“We are just waiting to see her through the winter.

“Her kidneys have improved so we are not sure she will actually need a transplant when she is older. She has been off dialysis for a year now.

“Monica has really come on loads since she has been back home.

“She is really happy and has a good personality. She does communicate quite well and she knows sign language but when the tracheostomy is it she can start talking, She makes mouth movements now and you can hear her whispering as she is trying to talk.

“The tracheostomy is a tube in her neck which helps with her breathing. She did have oxygen day and night but she has come off that now. There is nothing wrong with her airwaves.

“When we hold her hands she is trying to walk.

“She is a lot smaller than she should be for her age as she is wearing aged nine to 12 months but she is putting weight on. She is fed through a peg in her stomach now.”

Monica being home has been a huge relief to the rest of the family: dad Michael, 32, and brother Sean, 11 and Megan, six.

Emma adds: “Everything is so much better.

“I was able to be around when Sean started high school and Megan is feeling a lot better.

“We enjoyed our first Christmas together as not everyone was able to see Monica, especially my nana, who could not travel to the hospital.

“It is also less stressful for Michael who has to keep working.”

Monica still has follow-up appointments, but most are at Royal Preston Hospital, with the occasional trips to Manchester.

Over the past year Emma and Michael have been fund-raising for Ronald McDonald House.

They fell short of their £5,000 aim to sponsor a room in Monica’s name, but the £4,500 they did raise will continue to support its facilities.