London: A baby girl born with half a heart in the UK has survived despite the fact that her rare life-threatening condition was not diagnosed until she was four-months-old.

Scarlett Dougan was born with rare Hypoplastic Right Heart Syndrome (HRHS), where the right side of the heart is underdeveloped, meaning her body was unable to pump enough
blood to her lungs.

Scarlett's mother Nichola spotted the difference in temperament between the baby and her older brother Nathanial, 23 months, that she began to suspect there was a problem.

"Nathanial is such a happy wee boy, everybody knows how happy he is. But I think people started to think: She's wild," Nichola said.

The 28-year-old primary school teacher eventually came to know the reasons behind her daughter's constant crying and sleepless nights while talking to a Guide leader, who was also a paediatrician.

Nichola was advised to take her daughter to the Yorkhill Hospital for Sick Children in Glasgow, where she was immediately whisked to intensive care, after an assessment. A treatment plan was drawn up for her.

Doctors told Nichola that her daughter had overcome all the odds to make it so far without treatment. "It is a miracle she is still here. The doctors can't really believe how a child can get to four and a half months with that condition," Nichola said.

Dougan has now gone through two major heart operations for re-routing her major arteries directly to her lungs to improve her flow of oxygen.

The baby's turnaround has been so remarkable her doctors are now hoping she will enjoy a relatively normal childhood, although it is likely Scarlett will need to undergo a heart transplant by the time she reaches her early teens.


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