Friday, May 27, 2011

UK 3-year-old dies while waiting for a heart transplant

Mum's heartbreak following death of 'cheeky' Paige

by Liz Perkins Health Reporter this is South Wales

THE mum of a "cheeky" three-year-old Swansea girl has spoken of her shock after she died suddenly from a rare heart condition.

Paige Thomas died at Birmingham's Children's Hospital on May 10, while she was on a waiting list for a heart transplant.

Her mum Lynzi Thomas, 23, of Ravenhill, was told by doctors at 21 weeks into her pregnancy that her unborn daughter had the rare condition — hypoplastic left heart syndrome.

It is a rare condition which affects around one in 5,000 babies and accounts for one per cent of all congenital heart disorders.

Shortly before Paige's death, medical experts told Miss Thomas her daughter's heart valve pump was no longer working.

She said: "It was a shock when she died. She meant the world to me and she still does now.

"Paige was brilliant, she was a cheeky little thing.

"You wouldn't think there was anything wrong with her.

"She looked like any other child."

Miss Thomas said she was given the option to abort her pregnancy by doctors when they discovered she had a heart complaint.

But she was adamant she was going to have Paige, despite the warnings she would need further medical help during her life.

"I was just devastated when I found out she had a bad heart," she said.

"Paige was my first child.

"They said if I carried on with the pregnancy, the baby would have to have numerous heart operations.

"I was told when she was older she would have to have a heart transplant.

"The doctors asked me if I wanted to have an abortion but I didn't want that to happen."

From the moment she was born in the women's unit in Birmingham, her mum was only allowed to hold her for a couple of minutes before she was whisked away to be taken into intensive care.

Doctors had to ensure they kept the valve in her heart open and at just three days old she had to undergo an operation. Paige had to have another heart operation when she was just two-and-a-half months old and spent most of her young life having to see medics at Singleton Hospital.

"It's a rare condition which is found mainly in boys," Miss Thomas added.

"She was on medication when she was born."

It was three months ago when the three-year-old took a turn for the worst.

"Paige was sent up to Birmingham and I was told her heart valve pump had gone," she added.

"The doctors offered her a heart transplant or said they could leave it as it was."

Miss Thomas said she wanted her daughter to undergo a heart transplant.

But she added: "Paige didn't get the transplant.

"We were up there for two months and in the ninth week she passed away."

She said she had hoped to celebrate her 24th birthday and Paige's fourth birthday this year.

But she was full of praise for her family's support following her daughter's sudden death.

The youngster's funeral was held at St Illtyd's Church, in Fforestfach, on Friday, May 20, before she was buried at Morriston Cemetery.

Miss Thomas added: "My family has been really good."

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