King's College Hospital has always been there for Milo Hynes.
"They have known me all my life”, says Milo, who is currently studying History at Edinburgh University. “They literally know me inside out!”
The relationship began when Milo was just a few weeks old. Born with a perforated bile duct, he was admitted to King’s College Hospital, Denmark Hill where surgeons removed his bile duct and gall bladder.
They discovered that the main vein into his liver was blocked and that small tributary blood vessels had developed instead to take over the work of carrying blood to his liver. The surgery was successful but it left him with an enlarged spleen.
A suspected growth spurt in 2012 put pressure on the connections to his liver and corrective surgery was required to stop an internal bleed. But, after a second internal bleed in 2018 doctors decided that further surgery was needed to protect his liver and prevent the build-up of dangerous toxins in his body.
“They’ve taken a vein from my groin and used it to bypass the blockage in my portal vein,” says Milo. “So now I have the right amount of blood flow going into my liver in one place. If this bypass works well my spleen should start to decrease in size and my life will go back to normal.”
The ongoing support from King’s has given Milo the confidence and determination to return to university, six hours away from his Oxford home, whilst he recovers from his bypass surgery and an additional procedure to fix an obstruction in his small intestine.
“King’s has been amazing. They’ve put me in touch with the liver unit in Edinburgh so I can attend clinics there and I know that, if there’s anything I need or if I have any questions, King’s will be there to help 24/7.
“I also have complete confidence in my ability to speak in medical terms about my entire medical history to a degree that hospital staff can understand it and take any relevant action.
"I really think that the King’s Transition Programme enabled me to do this because they made a point of talking to me about my health and they empowered me to take control of my own medical history.”
Milo was introduced to the programme when he was 16 and attended yearly clinics to help him make the transition from being a child, receiving paediatric care, to becoming an adult. During this period he was also able to meet and socialise with other teenagers with similar health conditions.
“As a paediatric patient, doctors saw both me and my parents but the moment I was transferred to the transition clinic it was a case of: ‘Ok Milo, what’s going on? Explain your history to us.’
“When I had my bleed in 2018 I’d already gone through the whole transition process so I felt really well equipped to take control of the situation.
“The transition staff are so brilliant with young people. They understand what it’s like to be a teenager. They want you to give them a realistic description of what’s going on in your life and they give you judgement-free advice about what you can and can’t do.”
As well as continuing his history studies, Milo plans to hone his cookery skills.
“I love the whole process of cooking and the social aspect of it”, says Milo.
“And I really want to learn more. It’s very satisfying and it’s another great way of taking control and looking after my health.”