The photograph that saved a toddler's life: Mother spotted daughter's 'yellow' skin that was down to deadly liver condition
THIS is the remarkable photograph that saved tiny Sophie Tubman’s life.
It was only when mum Louise lay Sophie next to her twin sister Megan that she could see the difference between them.
It was a striking mirror image – but with a life-threatening difference. Compared to newborn Megan’s pink healthy complexion, Sophie’s skin in contrast looked yellow.
So Mrs Tubman took her to the doctors and eventually Sophie was diagnosed with a life threatening liver condition.
Striking: The clear difference in skin colour between Sophie Tubman, left, and her healthy twin sister Megan, shown in this photograph, alerted mum Louise to her baby daughter's liver condition and saved her life
She underwent a life saving operation in hospital – and it is all thanks to being photographed next to twin sister.
Mrs Tubman, 33, a buyer for a power station, said: ‘We started to notice within two days that something was wrong with Sophie.
‘She didn’t look the same healthy colour as Megan, and as the days passed, that became more and more obvious.
‘When they were lying next to each other, they definitely didn’t look like the mirror image they had been when they were first born. We could see how yellow Sophie looked in comparison to Megan.
‘Having her twin sister there to compare her too has really saved Megan’s life.’
Healthy: Thanks to the photo, Sophie, left, is growing up around mum Louise, dad Chris and sister Megan
The twins were born in August 2009 at Pembury Hospital in Kent, Sophie weighing 4Ib10, and Megan weighing 4Ib6.
But within two days of their birth, Mrs Tubman started to notice that Sophie was slightly yellower than her twin.
Mrs Tubman, who lives with husband Chris, 30, a sales representative, in Maidstone, Kent, said: ‘We mentioned it to the doctor who said that it was just a little bit of jaundice, which was normal with a lot of newborn babies and it wasn’t anything to worry about.
‘So we didn’t think anything of it. But Sophie was also quite tired in comparison to her sister and she couldn’t suck properly from her bottle like Megan could.
Newborn: Mum Louise Tubman knew something was wrong with Sophie, right, within two days of her birth
‘If I’d just had one baby, then I wouldn’t have noticed there was a problem. It was only because Megan was so different and seemed so perky and well that it just showed up that Sophie wasn’t the same.’
Mrs Tubman told the doctors that she feared something was wrong with Sophie, but initially was told that everything was fine.
She said: ‘I was told that even though they were twins they would be different children, and not to treat them the same. I was made to feel like I was being unfair, thinking that they would be alike.
‘Now in hindsight I know my instinct was right, that something wasn’t right with Sophie.’
After three weeks the twins were allowed home, but the couple noticed that Sophie was becoming more and more yellow in colour as the days passed.
Mrs Tubman said: ‘The difference between the twins grew more striking once we got home. When I laid them side by side in their cot, the difference was really remarkable.
‘Sophie just seemed so yellow in comparison to her twin sister.’
We are family: Sophie Tubman, left, and twin sister Megan have the rest of their lives to look forward to
When the twins were six weeks old, Mrs Tubman took Sophie to the GP and said that she was worried about her yellow colour in comparison to her twin.
The GP told her Sophie was alright, but to bring her back if she got any worse. Three weeks later she was no better and she took her back. This time she was referred to Maidstone Hospital for blood tests.
Mrs Tubman said: ‘We took her straight to the A and E department and the consultant started to examine her. He felt her stomach and I will never forget the look on his face. He looked horrified.
‘We were sat down and the consultant said to us that Sophie was a very poorly little girl. We were just devastated. ‘ Sophie was diagnosed with a life threatening liver condition called biliary atresia, a blockage in the tubes that carry bile from the liver to the gallbladder, causing life threatening damage to the liver.
Mrs Tubman said: ‘We couldn’t believe that after all those weeks of being told there was nothing wrong with Sophie, that she had such a life threatening condition.’
Sophie was immediately referred to Kings College Hospital in London, where she underwent a life saving operation to remove her damaged bile duct.
Maternal instinct: Louise Tubman, with husband Chris, knew Sophie needed help despite the doctors' advice
The operation was successful and thanks to regular visits from her twin Megan, Sophie has made a complete recovery.
Mrs Tubman said: ‘Sophie got very stressed in hospital after the operation, but when we brought Megan in to see her, she completely calmed down. There is an amazing bond between them. Once she had seen Megan she improved in leaps and bounds and we were allowed to bring her home after just five days.’
Sophie may have to have a liver transplant in the future, but is currently making a good recovery.
Mrs Tubman said: ‘Sophie is a completely different baby now – she’s just like her twin. They are like two peas in a pod. She’s got so much energy and a great appetite and the yellow colour has completely gone.
‘I’m just so grateful that we were able to compare her with her twin sister, so we could see just how poorly she was. Seeing the difference when I lay them side by side has ended up saving her life.’