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Young boy with ‘infectious’ grin tragically died during operation to save him

A young boy with an “infectious” grin tragically died during operation to save him.

Bradley James George Tweedy, 12, charmed everyone around him with his huge smile, but could not talk or eat.

He was born with several health conditions and spent his first year in hospital.

Bradley arrived six weeks early and doctors said had diaphragmatic hernia which means his organs shifted into the right side of his chest.

The youngster from Bedlington, Northumberland was also born with two oesophagus conditions.

Chronicle Live reports the top of his oesophagus did not form properly and was not connected to his stomach.

The condition, known as oesophageal atresia, meant that food was not able to reach his stomach.

A second known as, tracheo-oesophageal fistula, left parts of his oesophagus connected to his windpipe.

Bradley underwent procedures as a baby to repair the conditions which included four fistulas (abnormal connections), and made it home from hospital ten days after his first birthday.

Throughout his life, he had a breathing tube in his neck and a feeding tube directly into his stomach.

Bradley was also diagnosed with scoliosis, which caused his spine to curve, autism and epilepsy.

Despite his health, he lived a happy life with mum Terrie Maddison, 40, dad Peter Tate, 40, and siblings Alisha Martin, 20, Abbi Tate, 18, Olivia Tweedy, 11, and Jesse Tate, seven.

Earlier this year, Terrie became concerned about a rattle on his chest and asked doctors to have a look at his airway.

She was devastated when they discovered he had another fistula between his oesophagus and his windpipe.

Terrie said she was given the choice of turning his ventilator off or giving him a risky operation which could save his life.

She opted for surgery but Bradley tragically died from a cardiac arrest during the operation at the Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI) in Newcastle on May 31.

Terrie said: “I could tell Bradley wasn’t himself. I begged them to have a look down his airway.

“Never in a million years did I think it could be a fistula. It was totally unexpected and totally out of the blue.

“A fistula is a connection between the feeding tube and the breathing tube, it’s not something you can live with. No one could believe he was alive.

“The surgery was near impossible. His anatomy was not in the right place and his ribs were fused together. It can take time to find a fistula before they try and repair it.

“Bradley didn’t have a strong airway. His little body, during the whole process, was under immense pressure.

“Bradley’s fought all his life to be here and he was so incredible, I couldn’t not give him that chance.

“We gave him the surgery and it was supposed to be a 10 hour operation.

“After five hours his heart stopped and he had a cardiac arrest on the operating table.

“It was devastating for everyone.”

She said he was determined and resilient and absolutely loved life.

“He was the most happiest little soul in the world. His smile was massive and infectious.”

Terrie and Peter have been supported by close friends who have rallied around to help them.

Over the years, they have supported Bradley’s Smile Trust, which was set up to raise funds for two places close to the families’ hearts.

Over the weekend, 23 men, including Peter, walked from Carlisle to Wallsend for Bradley’s Smile Trust.

The fundraising event, organised by family friend Michael Coulson, 36, has already raised around £8,000 and money is still being collected.

Terrie said: “It’s incredible, it makes such a difference.”