When one-year-old Clark Beach developed a high temperature one evening in February 2016, his concerned mum and dad decided to take him to the local A and E department. As his heart rate was high, Clark was kept in and given antibiotics as a precaution but in the early hours of the morning, his mum, Sarra noticed a red mark on Clark’s skin which rapidly started to spread. Clark had meningitis and despite the antibiotics, his body was going in to septic shock.
Sarra says: “Within 15 minutes the room was filled with people and Clark was knocked out so that they could get all the lines and tubes in as quickly as possible. They ushered us out and when someone finally came in to get us, they told us that Clark was being taken to a children’s intensive care unit in another hospital.”
Already on life support, Clark was taken to the Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital Intensive Care Unit where the medical team tried everything they could to stabilise the little boy. When Ben and Sarra arrived, they were told that he was not responding to treatment. They were offered a chaplain and told to say their goodbyes. Sarra remembers screaming with grief and telling the doctors over and over to keep trying.
For many days, the doctors weren’t able to confidently give any prognosis on Clark’s life expectancy beyond the next few minutes. On the 1st of March, Sarra and Ben were told that Clark’s leg would have to be amputated at the knee immediately if he had any chance of survival. There was a very strong chance that given his condition Clark would not survive the operation. But without it he would certainly die.
Despite his slim chances, Clark did survive the surgery and as a result of the amputation, his infection markers started to decrease.
After eventually leaving intensive care, Clark spent many more weeks in hospital while he slowly recovered.
After many weeks of corrective operations and rehabilitation, Clark was discharged from hospital on 16 May to continue his recovery at home. He now has a prosthetic leg which he has adapted to amazingly well.
Ben says: “Clark’s story perfectly illustrates why having a children’s hospital is so vital. Having equipment, medical expertise and facilities that are specialised for children all under one roof makes such a difference. His needs were so complex that he must have used every one of them at one point or another. We were told by the intensive care team that Clark wouldn’t have made it as far as the next closest children’s hospital so for us it’s pretty simple – without the Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital for Wales we wouldn’t have our son.”
During September the Noah’s Ark Charity is partnering with solicitors across South and West Wales to offer a free Will writing service. For information on how you could help many other children like Clark by leaving a gift in your Will to the Noah’s Ark Charity, visit www.noahsarkcharity.org/freewill or call 029 2184 7310.