Heart unit which saved Sienna set to be closed

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A DETERMINED mother who credits a children’s heart surgery unit with saving her daughter’s life has joined the fight to keep it open.

Kerry Singleton is among 11,600 people who have signed a petition to save the children’s heart surgery unit at Leeds General Infirmary after an NHS review put the unit at risk.

Kerry’s four-year-old daughter Sienna was just six weeks old when doctors discovered she had valves the wrong way round, an under-developed pumping chamber and a large hole in her heart.

In 2008 the determined youngster underwent six hours of open heart surgery, followed by a 16-hour operation by specialists in Leeds which she had a one in four chance of survival. She still attends regular check-ups at the unit.

Kerry, 31, of Shildon Grove, Moorends, said: “Without the unit at Leeds Siennna would not be here today, it is a matter of life or death.

“If we had been forced to travel further than Leeds she wouldn’t have survived.

“I can’t believe that they are even contemplating closing it, millions of people rely on that unit.

“I intend to do everything possible to fight this and a lot of families feel exactly the same.”

Kerry, who was due to meet with MPs to discuss the proposals at Westminster yesterday, fears she may have to travel as far as Newcastle for Sienna’s regular check-ups if the unit closes.

The Save Our Heart Surgery Unit drive is now aiming to collect 20,000 signatures. The campaign has also set up a Facebook group which has more than 1,500 supporters and is encouraging people to lobby their MP before a decision is expected later this month.

As a result of the NHS review the number of units performing children’s heart surgery in England will be cut from 11 to six or seven, with the LGI one of the centres under threat.

A public consultation is currently underway ahead of a final decision due to be made at the end of the month.

To sign the petition to fight the plans visit http://www.thepetitionsite.com/6/help-to-save-ward-10-childrens-cardiac-lgi/