A critically-ill baby who was flown from Whitehaven to Birmingham for life-saving surgery has returned home.

One-year-old Michael Amos was left fighting for his life when a rare liver condition deteriorated, leaving him with internal bleeding.

Mum Lauren Wallace, 29, said the had “less than a bottle of Coke’s worth of blood left in his whole body” when the Great North Air Ambulance came to his rescue.

Michael, from Little Clifton, near Cockermouth, took ill last Wednesday.

Doctors at the West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven said he needed to get to Birmingham Children’s Hospital for emergency surgery - a journey that would take four hours by road.

Lauren said: “I was petrified. I crumbled. I cried. But I knew it had to be done.”

They called on the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) for help, but its Pride of Cumbria aircraft was already out at a double road traffic collision on the A66 near Cockermouth.

The charity instead despatched a second aircraft, from Durham Tees Valley Airport near Darlington.

The crew arrived at Whitehaven just 35 minutes later, and quickly loaded Michael and Lauren onto the aircraft.

They arrived at the Birmingham hospital one hour and five minutes later.

Michael - who has a type of liver disease called portal hypertension - underwent surgery in Birmingham.

“It went brilliantly,” said Lauren. “They stopped the bleeding, drained the fluid and carried out the other procedures. It went perfectly.”

A week on and Michael is doing well, having returned to Cumbria to continue his rehabilitation.

However he is likely to need additional operations every four to five weeks.

Lauren said that although there is currently no cure for Michael’s condition, the latest surgery would buy vital time. “It’s the first step and it will allow us to step back and see what needs to be done next,” she explained.

Michael’s dad, Chris Amos, originally from Egremont, has now set up a fundraising page - bit.ly/AirliftMichael - to raise money for GNAAS, which relies entirely on donations to stay afloat.

Lauren added: “I can’t thank them enough. As soon as they landed they were right on it. If it wasn’t for the air ambulance, he could easily have had a big bleed and deteriorated even more.

“They didn’t leave him once. Even when we were being transferred from the landing site to the hospital, they were there. I just want say thank you for everything.”

Grahame Pickering, GNAAS chief executive, said: “This critically ill child needed urgent surgery in Birmingham. Speed mattered, but so did the level of care on the way. We have doctors on board our aircraft so Michael’s care was able to continue throughout the journey. It was seamless.”