The heartbroken parents of a 2-week-old baby boy say their son will die within weeks if he does not receive a heart transplant. Carter Cookson, who was born on Dec. 26 and went into cardiac arrest three times within hours of his arrival, is the second child of Sarah and Chris Cookson, who tragically lost their first son in 2012.
“We need a heart in five weeks or we will lose our beautiful baby boy,” Sarah Cookson, 43, posted on Facebook, according to SWNS. “I can’t put into words how heartbroken we all are… but we will never give up on him.”
Carter was born two weeks earlier than his expected due date at Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle upon Tyne, England, and quickly transferred to Freeman Hospital where surgeons inserted a pacemaker, but it failed. He remains hospitalized at Freeman where he is receiving around-the-clock care and is relying on an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) machine.
The machine pumps and oxygenates a patient’s blood outside of the body, which allows the heart to rest, according to University of California San Francisco Health. Blood flows through tubing to an artificial lung in the machine that adds oxygen and takes out carbon dioxide, warming the blood before pumping it back into the patient’s body.
The machine is typically used in patients recovering from heart failure, lung failure or heart surgery, but the Cooksons said doctors estimate the machine will only work for another five to six weeks.
The couple’s older son Charlie, spent most of his short life in the hospital battling a mysterious medical condition, SWNS reported. A friend of the family told the news agency that Carter wasn’t born with any obvious symptoms of illness, and that the Cooksons hadn’t been prepared to expect any.
“They are heartbroken,” Joanne Nicholson said. “They went through this for 2.5 years with Charlie, who was their life. They are back into that zone again. Sarah and Chris are machines and do what they have to do. They haven’t been home since.”