Littleham mum praises paramedics

A Littleham mum has praised paramedics for their part in diagnosing her son’s rare medical condition, which was originally thought to be just a bad case of infant wind.

William Williams, now aged seven, lives with his mum Bernadette, 38, in The Crescent and is the youngest person to be diagnosed with Williams syndrome - a rare condition suffered by just half-a-dozen people in Devon.

The praise for paramedics comes just as Jemma Leaver, 17, the girlfriend of Bernadette’s son, raised �500 for the Williams Syndrome Foundation following a sponsored skydive.

The syndrome occurs at random and affects a patient’s genes often resulting in ‘elfin’ facial features, a low birth weight and heart problems.

When William was born, he had a heart murmur and, in the first few months of his life, suffered from several night time ‘fits’ which caused him to wake up screaming; his skin was blue and he had breathing problems.


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Williams syndrome is notoriously difficult to diagnose and staff at Exmouth Hospital initially thought it was infant colic, which has some similar symptoms.

But the second time paramedics were called, they spotted that something was wrong and took William straight to the RD&E to be checked by specialist paediatricians.

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Mum-of-four Bernadette said: “I understand that William is the youngest ever to be diagnosed with Williams at four-and-a-half months.

“If it hadn’t been for the paramedics, I would have never found out for maybe another couple of years and that would have set back his learning.

“Some people don’t get diagnosed until their early 20s.

“The paramedics knew it wasn’t colic and saw that something else was going on.

“William has got learning difficulties and because they found out early they have now put him on the right educational programme for him.

“I don’t know the names of the paramedics, but I want to thank them. William is a lovely little boy and he has more energy than I will ever have!”

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