Sportsman and Strictly Come Dancing star Michael Vaughan joined representatives from The Children’s Hospital Charity and East Midlands Trains to name Meridian 222 004 of East Midlands Trains ‘Children’s Hospital Sheffield.’
Staff at Sheffield station have been supporting the charity through fund-raising and auctions, as well as displaying charity promotional materials throughout the station. Owen Wilkinson, former hospital patient and cricket fan, helped name the train. Owen, aged 10 from Barnsley, had his life saved by surgeons at The Children’s Hospital when he had a fall at school and needed emergency surgery for severe bleeding on the brain.
Says Michael Vaughan, ‘I think it’s fantastic that East Midlands Trains have recognised the amazing work that goes on at The Children’s Hospital by naming one of their trains after it. Many people aren’t aware that there are only four dedicated children’s hospitals in the country and we are lucky enough to have one here in Sheffield. You only need to read Owen’s story to see what an extraordinary place it is.’
Owen’s mum Caroline, who is deputy head at Owen’s school, said, ‘Owen insisted he was fine after the fall, but later he became quiet and then started to feel sick. Myself and his class teacher thought it was probably a concussion but that he should be checked out, so I took him to Barnsley Hospital. When I was told Owen had a skull fracture and a severe bleed on the brain, it was as though I was in an imaginary bubble; you never think it will happen to your child.
‘Your initial thoughts are “will he survive?” Thankfully the support which staff gave me at Barnsley ensured that I remained positive and took things a step at a time.’
A top team of surgeons operated on Owen. Whilst Caroline and husband Mark awaited news of Owen, who was then eight, they met another couple whose 12-year-old son had also been rushed to surgery – with the very same condition. ‘What was even more incredible was that Mark recognised the other boy’s father from football,’ said Caroline. ‘When we realised that the boys needed the same emergency operation it made us even more anxious about them.’
Due to the dedication of the theatre team who opened two theatres, neurosurgeon Saurabh Sinha and his team were able to operate on the two boys simultaneously, managing to save both of their lives. ‘When we were told that Owen was out of theatre and being taken to the intensive care unit the relief was unbelievable,’ said Caroline.
‘We were told Owen was a very lucky boy and he was doing really well. It’s amazing we’ve got a specialist hospital nearby. Who knows what could have happened if his journey had been further?
Saving two lives like that at the same time takes such a highly skilled and dedicated team and we thank them all from the bottom of our hearts.
‘We wouldn’t have Owen today without their care and dedication. These people are special in every way. Dr Sinah and his team are dedicated professionals who go beyond the call of duty and perform miracles on a weekly basis.’