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Dominic was born with foetal alcohol syndrome, and came to Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) when he was just one year old. Dominic’s adoptive mum, Avril, talks about the condition and the medical treatment their son has received.


Dominic came into care as a very frail and tiny baby when he was eight months old. “When Dominic was born he was already earmarked for quite intensive treatment,” explains Avril. 

“He has a huge number of problems caused by his birth mother drinking alcohol when she was pregnant,” explains Avril. “As foster carers, we were devastated to find out that alcohol can cause so many problems.”

Foetal alcohol syndrome

Dominic had many features of foetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) including the facial features, severe ptosis (upper eyelid droop), skeletal problems, bowel problems and the most serious and life-threatening symptom, tetralogy of Fallot (a congenital heart defect).

He had severe reflux, is tube fed through a gastrostomy and had an antegrade continent enema (ACE) to help with his severe constipation.

First visit to the hospital

Dominic was one year old when we took him to GOSH to be seen at the eye clinic. He had no muscle in his eyelids and was unable to open his eyes.

Consultant plastic surgeon David Dunaway performed amazing and successful surgery on Dominic’s eyelids when he was four. “They took tissue from his legs and strung it from his eyelids to his eyebrows,” explains Avril. “Now Dominic loves to show off his big eyes.”

Dominic today

Regular check-ups

Dominic continues to be a frequent visitor to the hospital, having his eyes checked and seeing the cardiac consultant to monitor his heart condition. He also has stoma care from specialist nurses Helen and Monica.

“Our little Dominic always has a huge smile and giggle and he bounces back after all his treatment. Just like Tigger.”

Dominic is 16 this year. “I’m going to Sixth Form College in September. I like English and Art. The one subject I don’t want to do is Maths!” explains Dominic.

Find out more about why we need your help and read about the upcoming redevelopment project, the Centre for Research into Rare Disease in Children