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‘Why our heart unit must stay in Yorkshire’
9:55am Friday 1st March 2013 in News
THE mother of a young York girl who is waiting for a vital heart operation has joined calls to save children’s heart surgery in Yorkshire.
Freya Popplewell, six, from Huntington, was born with a defect which means she has two holes in her heart and an enlarged ventricle. Doctors at Leeds General Infirmary (LGI) are set to meet in May to discuss whether Freya has grown enough to undergo keyhole surgery.
While able to live a normal live, her mother Di, 28, says Freya may not live to adulthood without the operation and says the children’s heart surgery unit must stay in Leeds.
A decision is currently going through the high courts on a controversial NHS decision to move the surgery from LGI to Newcastle.
Di said: “Freya has and will lead a normal childhood, but without the surgery she wouldn’t see adulthood. Also we would like to stress that we are lucky.
“She was diagnosed and we are lucky that, all being well, Freya will only need this surgery once and her heart will be fixed but thousands depend on this brilliant service daily.”
The effects on Freya’s health have so far been limited to a bout of breathlessness during the recent cold weather, and she is able to enjoy a near-normal school life.
However, her parents know she will undergo surgery in the next 18 months and they want that to be carried out in Yorkshire.
Di said: “Yorkshire is such a big region. It needs a surgery unit. If it’s not kept on our doorstep, we will be juggling with children’s lives.
“You just don’t know when someone you know and love will need this facility. We never thought it would happen to us. “It’s not just for us. It’s for all those children in the future.
“We need the safety net of knowing Leeds is there.”