Little Hudson Doyle contracted Covid pneumonitis and had to be put on life support to recover his depleting oxygen levels.
His parents, Mariah Allen and Liam Doyle, stayed by his side at Southampton paediatric intensive care unit (PICU), at Southampton General Hospital – all while the uncertainty of their son’s condition petrified them.
Thankfully, after weeks of successful intensive care and treatment, tiny Hudson returned to his Hilsea home in February.
Ms Allen described the recovery as a ‘miracle’ and those treating him as ‘superheroes’.
She told The News: ‘After what has been the most traumatising and emotionally exhausting few months, we can’t believe we finally have our sweet boy back home and in our arms again.
‘Over the last few months we’ve had to witness things and have conversations that are way beyond every parent's worst nightmare.
‘In the beginning, we were told “I can’t promise you we can save his life” and “he is in a critical condition and this is our last option to try and save him”.
‘We never thought we would be walking out of that hospital and bringing our little boy home again.
‘But because of the incredible PICU superheroes, who worked tirelessly day and night to save his life, our perfect little family is back together again.
‘It’s a miracle.’
Hudson Doyle, his parents, and two-year-old sister Pixie, originally caught Covid on New Year’s Eve.
On January 1, tiny Hudson had to be sedated and put on a ventilator – being transferred to intensive care the day after.
After an initial recovery, his symptoms worsened, so had to return to hospital five days later.
His condition was so extreme that he was placed on an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation life support machine (ECMO) – which pumped blood and oxygen round his system.
Ms Allen said Hudson came off the machine after two weeks, then was placed in a coma and on a ventilator.
He later was woken up and moved to intensive care, before spending two more weeks on the children’s ward.
In total, Hudson spent roughly five to six weeks in hospital – three of them on life support.
Despite the miracle baby surviving Covid, he still has a long road to recovery ahead of him.
Ms Allen said: ‘He will now need a lifetime of specialist follow up as a result of everything his little body went through.
‘This includes the extremely invasive, top-tier form of life support that he was on, but this is all a small price to pay.
‘He is alive and we truly feel blessed.’
Ms Allen explained the family still have to make precautions to protect Hudson, and ‘doesn’t want anyone to go near him’.
They are keeping him in a social bubble, even away from family members.
The stay-at-home mum added: ‘We haven’t let anyone see him yet, because we’re so traumatised, and absolutely petrified of him getting ill.
‘Even if he catches a cold at the minute, it’s going to absolutely floor him.
‘He may look better on the outside, but his lungs are gonna take so long to repair themselves.’
Most of the money went towards living costs, as Mr Doyle had to take time away from his welding job.
More than £8,000 was raised while Hudson’s parents stayed by his side and lived at Ronald McDonald House.
Ms Allen was stunned by the support.
She said: ‘We just wanted to say the biggest thank you to Portsmouth for all the support and prayers we received during this incredibly traumatic time.
‘We were so overwhelmed by everyone’s donations, well wishes, and genuine concerns for our family.
‘You have restored our faith in humanity and we are so proud to be a part of this city.’
After paying their bills, Ms Allen said most of the remaining funds has gone towards a new ECMO machine at the hospital – as it it not funded by the NHS.
The Hilsea resident said her little boy ‘wouldn’t be with us today’ without the dedicated staff at the PICU and the appliance.
She said: ‘Unless you are physically in that room and you witness first-hand what really goes on in intensive care, you will never comprehend just how much they do.
‘Their care is second to none, and they are the reason our little family is back together again.
‘Nothing we could ever say or do could possibly thank them enough, they are worth all of the stars in the universe a thousand times over.’
‘We feel it is very heart-warming to know that the money we donated may give another family out there even the slightest chance of getting the happy ending that we did.’