The Photo That Saved Sophie: Mum Spots Life-Threatening Liver Condition In Daughter's Photograph

24/02/2012 09:44 | Updated 22 May 2015
 Sophie Tubman and her twin MeganWorldwide Features

This is the remarkable photograph that saved tiny Sophie Tubman's life.

It was only when her mum Louise lay her next to her twin sister Megan that she could see the difference between them. It was gorgeous picture of her newborn twins, but with a life-threatening difference.

Compared to her newborn twin sister Megan's pink, healthy complexion, Sophie's skin in contrast looked yellow.

Louise took her to the doctor, and eventually Sophie was diagnosed with a dangerous liver condition. She underwent a life-saving operation in hospital - all thanks to being photographed next to twin sister.

Louise, 33, a buyer for a power station, says: "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."

 The photo that saved Sophie: Mum spots life-threatening liver condition in daughter's photoWorldwide Features

The twins were born in August 2009 at Pembury Hospital in Kent, Sophie weighing 4Ib,10oz, and Megan weighing 4Ib, 6oz.

But within two days of their birth, Louise started to notice that Sophie was slightly yellower than her twin.

Louise who lives with husband Chris, 30, a sales representative, in Maidstone, Kent, says: "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.

"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."

 The photo that saved Sophie: Mum spots life-threatening liver condition in daughter's photoWorldwide Features

Louise told the doctors that she feared something was wrong with Sophie, but initially was told that everything was fine:

"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.


As the days after their birth passed, Louise and Chris noticed that Sophie was becoming more and more yellow in colour.

"The difference between the twins grew more striking once we got home from hospital. When I laid them side by side in their cot, the difference was really remarkable," explains Louise.

"Sophie just seemed so yellow in comparison to her twin sister."

 The photo that saved Sophie: Mum spots life-threatening liver condition in daughter's photoWorldwide Features

When the twins were six weeks old, Louise 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 this time she was referred to Maidstone Hospital for blood tests.

"We took her straight to the A&E department and the consultant started to examine her," says Louise. "Her 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 damage to the liver.

"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," says Louise.

 The photo that saved Sophie: Mum spots life-threatening liver condition in daughter's photoWorldwide Features

Sophie was immediately referred to Kings College Hospital in London, where she underwent a life-saving operation to remove her damaged bile duct.

The operation was successful and thanks to regular visits from her twin Megan, Sophie has made a complete recovery.

"Sophie got very stressed in hospital after the operation, but when we brought Megan in to see her, she completely calmed down," says Louise.


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:

"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."

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