A toddler whose parents were told by doctors he would not recover from a drowning accident in April is today celebrating his second birthday and his family are preparing to bring him home.
Enis Azmi Işık nearly drowned when he fell into the pool at his family home in Muğla, southern Turkey, on 11th April. He was rushed to the local hospital, but as they didn’t have specialist equipment needed for his treatment, Enis was instead transferred by air ambulance to a hospital in İsparta, where he has been ever since.
Those critical hours where essential treatment was delayed resulted in what doctors initially presumed as significant and permanent brain and organ damage to the 20-month old boy, and his parents were told to prepare for the worst. Undeterred, his mother, Croydon-born Ayla Azmi Işık, and her family launched an urgent appeal to bring Enis back to London for life-saving treatment.
When she reached the target total of £30,000 in May, Ayla contacted specialist paediatricians at St Thomas’ Hospital – regarded as world leaders in their field – to discuss Enis’ transfer and care back in Britain. But the conversation did not go as planned. The consultant told the family that as their son was still on a ventilator six weeks after the accident and remained unable to breathe on his own, St Thomas’ would advise the family to “turn off his life-support machine”.
The verdict left Ayla “distressed and heartbroken”. It also changed her and her husband’s planned course of action. The family decided to stay put in İsparta as they felt the Turkish doctors were more supportive of their decision to keep Enis alive.
Their faith and determination to fight has proven justified. Against the odds, little Enis has shown incredible resilience. His health continues to improve and he can now breathe on his own for most of the day.
Last month the family experienced a new scare after Enis was given new medication sent from Britain to help alleviate his spasticity (stiffness in his limbs), which had resulted in fractures to his limbs. While the medicine worked, relaxing the toddler’s muscles sufficiently to allow essential physiotherapy treatment to start, its strong side affects coupled with an infection increased Enis’ heart rate to a dangerous level and he ended up back in a coma. The family again prepared for the worst.
Ayla asked the doctors to stop administering the drug, which they duly did and within 24 hours Enis woke up. A fortnight on, with the help of antibiotics, Enis has fought off the infection and his strength continues to improve.
In a Facebook update on Sunday, Ayla wrote that on Friday night her young son had started to make some noises, “the 1st time since his accident, as if he was trying to talk!”
Enis’ improving health means doctors now feel confident enough to discharge him. Donations from the appeal earlier this year has enabled the family to buy vital equipment, which his parents are now receiving training on how to use. The money raised will also fund Enis’ 24-hour home care in İsparta, where the family plan to stay until their son is strong enough to return to Britain to start hyperbaric oxygen therapy that will hopefully aid him make a full recovery.
While thanking everyone for their moral and financial support, on the eve of Enis’ second birthday Ayla also wrote: “I thank God that Enis is alive it will be an awful day as I won’t even be able to hold my baby. I have to remind myself every day Enis’ recovery is like a marathon not a race, with perseverance we will get to the end, and Enis will get better. Thank you all again for your heart touching support x”
Posting a picture from his first birthday in August 2016, Ayla today wrote a message to her “inspirational boy”, that “against all odds you are here & I am blessed to be your mummy”.