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Viagra saves baby's life

16th February 2007

Doctors on Tyneside have saved a premature baby’s life by using the impotence drug Viagra. 

Premature Baby

Lewis Goodfellow was born last August at 24 weeks and weighed just 1lb 8oz.  His chances of survival were very slim and his condition was further complicated as one of his lungs had failed meaning not enough oxygen was able to get into his bloodstream.

The medical team at Newcastle's Royal Victoria Infirmary needed to find a way to open up Lewis’s blood vessels to enable an ample supply of oxygen to his body.  As a last resort they gave him a dose of Sildenafil, also known under the trade name of Viagra, and the little boy is now well enough to be cared for at home. A spokesperson for the hospital explained that the problem with premature babies with breathing difficulties is although doctors can blow oxygen into their lungs, there isn't enough blood supply to various areas of the lungs to take the oxygen around the rest of the body. "What Sildenafil does is open up the blood vessels so they can capture the oxygen and take it around the body," he said.

His parents, Jade Goodfellow and John Barclay, have praised doctors saying they believe the anti-impotence drug saved their child’s life.  They said they trusted Lewis’s medical team completely and told doctors to do whatever they felt was necessary to save little Lewis.  Ms Goodfellow said, “[The doctors] were just clutching at straws basically. They explained it was experimental and may not have any effect at all.  But they are worth their weight in gold. We admire each and every one of them for what they have done."

 

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