Birmingham dad and daughter have same surgery 35 years apart

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image copyrightBirmingham Women's and Children's NHS Trust
image captionNew parents Richard and Hannah Franklin pictured with baby Robyn

A father and daughter underwent life-saving surgery 35 years apart.

In 1985, Richard Franklin, from Birmingham, was born without part of his oesophagus, meaning he could not swallow or feed properly.

He and his twin brother had emergency surgery for the "incredibly rare" condition at Birmingham Children's Hospital.

In November, his daughter Robyn was born with the same condition and also underwent surgery.

The condition called oesophageal atresia and tracheo-oesophageal fistula happens when a baby is born without the pipe that connects the mouth to the stomach.

For Richard Franklin, the treatment involved opening the chest leaving him with a large scar across the torso.

He then needed regular treatment to stretch the scar tissue.

With Robyn, a new technique was used meaning she could have the surgery done via keyhole minimising scarring.

She was able to feed after 12 days.

image copyrightBirmingham Women's and Children's NHS Trust
image captionPaediatric surgeon Suren Arul (R) pictured with Giampiero Soccorso said they only see two or three cases like Robyn's a year

Mr Franklin, a bus driver, said: "We were told at the time not only how rare this condition was but how rare it was for myself and my twin brother to survive."

"This new technique has been life-changing for Robyn.

"It has been quite the whirlwind with how quick she has recovered and been able to come home."

Suren Arul, the consultant paediatric surgeon who along with Giampiero Soccorso led the team for Robyn's procedure, said: "Over the last 35 years doctors around the world have striven to improve the outcomes of surgery on these tiny babies with this rare condition - we only see around two or three each year.

"To know Robyn can grow up normally having had such major surgery, but with no scars, is a wonderful thing."

Robyn's mother Hannah Franklin said she and her husband had known there was a chance Robyn could have a similar condition to her father and they found out for definite a few hours after she was born. They were shocked but had almost prepared themselves, she said.

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