Now that’s something to smile about! Toddler gives first ever grin after doctors remove infected birthmark from her lip

The infected birthmark on Orla Docherty's lip left her in agony before doctors healed it with beta blockers

Little Orla Docherty finally gave a cheeky little grin today after doctors healed an infected birthmark that left her unable to smile.

The 16-month-old was born with a birthmark on her lower lip, which became infected because of its location, causing the toddler agonising pain.

The red blotch became so unbearable that Orla had to be taken to hospital where she was given medication to reduce its size.


Sixteen-month old Orla Docherty from Dumbarton, Scotland, who is able to smile again after taking beta blockers

Orla was in a lot of pain from her infected birthmark, left, but is now smiling again after doctors cured it, right

The course of beta blockers was successful and now, a year on, she can finally smile again.

Her mum Lorraine McLeish, 31, of Dumbarton, Scotland, said: ‘It was great to see her first smile and now it’s all she does – she always has a grin on her face.’

Lorraine, who lives with partner Chris Docherty, 32, a plasterer, and her older daughter Lucy, three, began to worry when Orla was born nine weeks early in September 2010.

Orla was born weighing just four pounds so needed constant feeding in the first few weeks of her life which caused the birthmark to become infected.

Doctors decided to put Orla on a beta blocker called Propranolol, which slowed down her heart rate to reduce blood flow, and shrank the size of the birth mark.

Lorraine, who works part time as a bar supervisor in Dumbarton, said: ‘A couple of days before she got out of hospital I noticed a small mark on her lip.

Smile!: Chris Docherty and Lorraine McLeish and her sixteen-month-old daughter Orla

Smile!: Chris Docherty and Lorraine McLeish and her sixteen-month-old daughter Orla

‘It looked like a wee red blister and at first I thought it was from having a tube in. Doctors said it was a birthmark but not to worry about it.

‘Within 10 days of Orla coming home, it started ulcerating and bleeding, and she wasn’t feeding.

‘She was four weeks old, still wasn’t feeding, and only weighed five pounds.’

Lorraine took Orla to the Yorkhill Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Glasgow where they decided to proscribe Orla with beta blockers called propranolol.

But in another blow for the family, the toddler then had to be rushed into intensive care, after being struck down by bronchitis.

Orla was then fed through a tube and given a blood transfusion on Christmas Day 2010.

But she made a quick recovery and after a course of beta blocers the birth mark is finally under control.

But Orla will still be undergoing cosmetic surgery in April to remove the remaining scar tissue beneath her lip.

Lorraine added: ‘When she was put in intensive care it was horrible but she has come through it and we are very proud of her.

‘The type of birthmark Orla has tends to grow for the first year and can then diminish, but the bleeding and ulcerating has left scars on her lip.

‘That won’t go away and that’s why she needed surgery. She’s a happy little girl.’