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Mum makes fresh plea on eve of D-Day for heart centre
THE mother of a young heart surgery patient from York is asking NHS bosses not to close the region’s paediatric surgery centre, when they meet to decide its fate on Wednesday.
Myriam Barker, 39, said the life of her daughter Margaux, five, was saved when surgeons at Leeds General Infirmary (LGI) performed vital open heart surgery, when she was diagnosed with a condition called an atrial septal defect (ASD).
Now, with child heart services facing a move to Newcastle under a major NHS shake-up, Myriam, says the unit must not be lost to Yorkshire families, leaving them with the prospect of a two hour-trip to Tyneside.
She said: “We are very lucky and Margaux should not need any further heart surgery or check-ups.
“We have been behind the campaign for the past 18 months because of the outstanding care Margaux got at the LGI and we see how devastating the closure of the unit would be for all families affected by congenital heart defects in Yorkshire and Humberside.”
She said: “Margaux was born with an ASD - a hole between the two upper heart chambers.
“She had to have open-heart surgery to allow her to have a normal life span. Without it, she would have been at risk of disability by middle age because of increased blood flow and shunting of blood back into the pulmonary circulation.”
Margaux, now five, is just one of many children from York who owe their lives to the skills of surgeons in Yorkshire.
Under the NHS's plans for paediatric heart services, the facilities at Leeds could be moved to Newcastle as health bosses look to concentrate expertise and equipment in fewer centres around the country.
The review has been hugely controversial and has drawn criticism from many parents and heart doctors, although others have supported the concentration of expertise in dedicated centres.