Third time unlucky for heart girl Hannah

by CHRIS BROOKE, Daily Mail

A girl of 12 who has been waiting six months for a heart transplant has seen her hopes of life-saving surgery dashed for the third time.

Hannah Pudsey was born with a major heart defect. Her condition deteriorated last summer and doctors say the operation is her only chance of long-term survival.

Since being put on the waiting list, she has been called into hospital for the transplant three times after a potential donor organ was found.

But on each occasion the operation has been cancelled at the last minute because surgeons decided the donor heart was not suitable.

Yesterday Hannah, was back home in Nafferton, East Yorkshire, after her latest setback.

She was summoned to the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle upon Tyne on Thursday.

After a 90-mile ambulance trip, she began undergoing tests to ensure she was well enough for the operation.

As surgeons studied the donor heart, Hannah and her parents Ros and David Pudsey waited - as they had twice before - for the final go-ahead. Once again they were sent home disappointed.

'The tissue matched and everything was OK,' said Mrs Pudsey, a

social worker. 'Hannah was convinced this was the one but unfortunately the heart was not functioning properly so it was no good.

'She accepted it very well. She is very intelligent and she knows what the situation is. From looking at her, you would not realise how poorly she really is.'

Hospital transplant co-ordinator Neil Wrightson said: 'Unfortunately, the operation had to be cancelled at the last minute because the organ had deteriorated too much and was not suitable for transplant.

'It has been an extremely distressing few hours for the family. Hannah is very poorly and needs a transplant as soon as possible.'

When Hannah was born, doctors discovered she had a heart murmur. At four weeks, they diagnosed a major problem.

She had two holes in the heart and a wrongly positioned artery.

Hannah was fitted with an artificial heart valve but in January 1996 it failed suddenly. Doctors at Killingbeck Hospital, Leeds, said it was unlikely she would survive. Yet Hannah defied the odds.

The valve was replaced and she came through two major operations in five weeks.

However, last year Hannah's heart muscle deteriorated to such an extent that in July she was put on the waiting list for a transplant and told to be on 24-hour alert.

A few days later she got the first call from the Freeman Hospital. Her ambulance was nearing Newcastle when the surgeon contacted Mrs Pudsey on her mobile phone to cancel the operation.

The second call came on October 12. Hannah was being sedated in preparation for surgery when the operation was cancelled.

Mrs Pudsey said: ¿We live each day, day by day. We cannot plan anything. We all have to keep our spirits up for Hannah's sake. We just want people to be aware of how important it is to support organ donation.'

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