Toddler’s life saved after head bump reveals deadly heart conditions


A TODDLER’S life was saved when she was checked over after bumping her head on a door frame and doctors diagnosed two major heart conditions.

Emma Livesey, from Galashiels in the Scottish Borders, took her two-year-old daughter Lidija to hospital following the knock earlier this year.

She expected the assessment to last a few hours and for Lidija to be sent on her way.

Lidija after her operation
Lidija after her operation


But doctors detected two serious heart conditions which, if left untreated, would end up killing her.

The toddler was transferred to what was then known as Yorkhill Hospital in Glasgow, the national provider of paediatric cardiology services.

It was here that doctors revealed she had a large defect in the heart wall, and that veins from her lungs were entering the wrong heart chambers.

Mum Emma, 33, said: “In a matter of hours, we discovered our healthy, happy baby had a heart condition and that was the start of a series of appointments and investigative tests.

Mum Emma wasn't sure if this was the last picture she would ever take of her daughter
Mum Emma wasn’t sure if this was the last picture she would ever take of her daughter


“Both conditions were serious and the consultant informed us that, if left untreated, Lidija would likely not survive past childhood.

“Hitting her head was a blessing in disguise. She was just running around at her Grandma’s and knocked her head off a sharp door frame.

“It was horrible at the time because she had a very large lump, but this probably ended up saving her life.”

A recent photo of Lidija with her mum Emma
A recent photo of Lidija with her mum Emma


Lidija’s first surgery was scheduled for July 1 at the newly-located Royal Hospital for Children and was successful.

Emma said: “I took a picture of her just before she went into surgery. She was happy and laughing but I couldn’t stop crying.

“I didn’t know whether this was going to be the last time I would see my daughter alive.”

But there was more to come – doctors also found that the youngster had bilateral superior caval veins; a defect that could not be corrected.

The diagnosis means she will be a cardiac patient for life.

Lidija has since recovered "fantastically" from surgery
Lidija has since recovered “fantastically” from surgery


“Seeing Lidija in intensive care and later in the High Dependency Unit were the hardest few days of my life – nothing can prepare you for that time,” Emma said.

“It was a slow process getting back to normal. However, Lidija is doing fantastic since her summer surgery.

“She has been left with a beautifully neat scar across her chest – our reminder of how special she is.”

Lidija is now aged three and attends Balmoral Primary School nursery. The family is lending their support to the Yorkhill Children’s Charity’s Little Hearts Appeal to raise £150,000 by Christmas.

“We’re not asking for Christmas presents this year – instead we want family and friends to donate to Yorkhill,” Emma added.

The charity hopes to use the money to fund the UK’s first 4D heart scanning equipment at Glasgow’s new Royal Hospital for Children.

Earlier this month, a mother saved the life of her three-year-old daughter by lying to doctors that she had fallen and hit her head.

After months of being told not to worry, Amanda Davies told doctors that her daughter Lil had fallen and then vomited, prompting them to give her a brain scan.

They discovered a tumour the size of a lemon growing on her brain – and were able to carry out life-saving surgery.