Doctors didn't think baby would survive more than two hours - now his parents celebrate his birthday
WHEN Ollie Lewis was born his parents were warned he was only likely to live a few hours – but today the youngster is celebrating his first birthday.
Ollie suffered brain damage after he was starved of oxygen at birth and his parents were told it was unlikely their son would see his landmark first birthday.
But despite the machines supporting him in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at St Michael's being switched off, and his family being told to say goodbye, the youngster has exceeded expectations.
Ollie is registered blind, suffers from epilepsy and cerebral palsy and is tube-fed as a result of the complications he suffered at birth, but his parents are amazed by the things their son has achieved.
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His dad Neil Lewis, of Weston- super-Mare, said: "We are so proud of him. Charmaine works extremely hard to keep him happy. He's not suffering, he's just very hard work. But he's not being kept alive, he's living.
"They didn't think he would live more than two hours and they told us he would not be able to open his eyes, wouldn't be able to cry and wouldn't be able to walk or talk. Two weeks after they said he wouldn't open his eyes he did. They said he wouldn't cry and then one day he just started crying."
Mum Charmaine Malcolm, 23, said: "We just meet his needs day to day."
Mr Lewis, 27, and Ms Malcolm will be celebrating Ollie's birthday with family and friends.
The couple believe Ollie's brain damage was caused by a midwife failing to monitor Ms Malcolm adequately during labour. They said that when she was finally examined there was no heartbeat and Ms Malcolm had to be rushed to the delivery suite, where Ollie was born blue, due to the cord being wrapped around his neck.
As previously reported in The Post, the hospital apologised for errors made and the couple are taking legal action against the trust that runs St Michael's in an attempt to obtain compensation for Ollie's around- the-clock care needs.
Mr Lewis said: "A few days before he was born last year Ollie's brain was fine. It was because of somebody, not a disease or something that could not be helped. Every other baby in intensive care was a quarter of the size of him, he was put there by someone we trusted and he will be like this forever."
Mr Lewis said that despite the difficult start to their son's life they felt he had the best treatment afterwards in the NICU, with the community intensive care teams and at Charlton Farm children's hospice in Wraxall.
Robert Woolley, chief executive of the trust, said: "On behalf of the trust, I am deeply sorry for the errors that were made and the extreme distress these have caused the family.
"We have apologised to them before and I would like to reiterate our apology on Ollie's first birthday."