Coronation Street viewers were grabbing for the tissues tonight as Leanne Battersby (Jane Danson) was faced with the reality of removing her son Oliver from life support.
Leanne, Oliver’s father Steve McDonald (Simon Gregson) and stepfather Nick Tilsley (Ben Price) are in turmoil over the youngster’s diagnosis with mitochondrial disease.
In tonight’s episode, the doctor first said they would reduce Oliver’s sedation but were forced to up it again when he struggled to breathe on his own.
With his seizures now beyond their control and life support is the only thing keeping him alive, Leanne has to accept that the only option is to remove Oliver from the machine.
Reacting to the harrowing scenes, one viewer tweeted: ‘Omg that is devastating for Leanne and Steve. Oliver is only alive because of the life support.’
‘OMG @itvcorrie I’ve got a right lump in my throat. Poor Leanne & Steve,’ one emotional viewer said.
‘That was a tear jerker. Just doesn’t seem right poor Leanne and Steve,’ a viewer weighed in.
Another commented: ‘Leanne needs to expect the worst. My heart breaks for her as there is nothing that the doctors can do.’
Sympathising with Nick as the stepfather, one tweeted: ‘Oliver is the closest thing Nick has to a son. It’s so sad for him Steve and Leanne.’
Speaking to Metro.co.uk about the story, actor Ben Price said: ‘Jane is amazing, I think I need to say that. She carries it and she has carried it for the last 6 months, a year.
‘It’s hard, I’ll be honest, it’s hard. The way we’re filming now, you’re in the hospital all day, every day, filming’s changed.’
He continued: ‘It’s amazing, don’t get me wrong, it’s fantastic to have the story. But being in a hospital for 12 hours a day going over the diagnosis of a child dying.
‘Jane carries it, now we’ve moved on, the diagnosis has changed, I don’t know how much we can talk about, but they’re there for a long time.’
Mitochondrial diseases result from failures of the mitochondria, specialized compartments present in every cell of the body (except red blood cells).
Mitochondria are responsible for creating more than 90% of the energy needed by the body to sustain life and support organ function. When they fail, less and less energy is generated within the cell. Cell injury and even cell death follow. If this process is repeated throughout the body, whole organ systems begin to fail.
The parts of the body, such as the heart, brain, muscles and lungs, requiring the greatest amounts of energy are the most affected.
Symptoms vary depending on the organ(s) affected but may include seizures, atypical cerebral palsy, autistic features, developmental problems, fainting and temperature instability.
According to The Lily Foundation, the prognosis depends upon the severity of the disease and other criteria. As more research funds are raised to find more effective treatments and ultimately a cure, some of the affected children and adults are living fairly normal lives with mitochondrial disease.
In other cases, children may not be able to see, hear, talk or walk. Affected children may not survive beyond their teenage years. Adult onset can result in drastic changes from an active lifestyle to a debilitating ilness is a short amount of time.
Treatment plans vary from patient to patient but involve therapies, diet changes and other means to try and slow the progress of the disease.
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Actu monde – GB – Coronation Street fans tearful as Leanne faces taking Oliver off life support