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A much-loved patient has headed home for Christmas after almost two years of care with our team in the John Day Ward.

Chelsea Kirby, 26, left the Trust on Monday 26 November, after being admitted 23 months ago for aspirational pneumonia, as well as battling many other conditions such as cerebral palsy, scoliosis and Hirschprung’s disease which affects the large intestine and bowel.

Operated on at just 11 days old at Great Ormond Street Hospital, Chelsea, who is unable to speak due to undergoing a tracheostomy, has suffered a cardiac arrest and multiple peri-arrests during her stay with us as well as undergoing several surgeries on her stomach.

Chelsea was also rushed for life-saving emergency surgery at Tunbridge Wells Hospital after her body reacted to a feeding tube.

Chelsea’s Mum, Karen, says: “Prior to her stay here, Chelsea was going to college and going to the cinema and swimming and then this really knocked her for six.

“The last two years have been incredibly difficult for us but the care she has received here has been absolutely exceptional. They are caring, they work so hard and I couldn’t rate them highly enough.

“The team here have become our extended family and have made Chelsea’s time here so much easier. The John Day Ward is extremely busy but they the staff here have gone completely above and beyond of my expectations.

“They are an incredible team and are all a joy to be around. They all have a laugh with her, they do her hair and make-up and can always be found singing along to Frozen in the ward!”

But now back on the mend, Chelsea, who has also spent time in our Intensive Care Unit and will continue to visit the Trust for outpatient visits, is looking forward to getting home and enjoying some of her creature comforts.

Karen continued: “She’s incredibly emotional and apprehensive about leaving and saying goodbye to everyone here but I know she is looking forward to going home, she misses her dog, she misses her sister, she misses her bedroom and going into winter it is the safest place for her to be. She’ll probably spend her first night home doing her Christmas list!

Ward Manager, Charlie Lee-Frost, added: “She is going to leave a huge gap. Everyone knows who Chelsea is here – she’s like a local celebrity.

“We had some banners to say ‘sorry you’re leaving’ but the truth is, although we are gutted to see her go, we’re so happy she can go home and be with her family”.