Dismay at heart unit’s closure

Parents of children treated at a specialist heart surgery unit have reacted angrily to the news that it has been earmarked for closure.

Surgeons at Glenfield Hospital in Leicester have saved the lives of many youngsters from across Northamptonshire who have suffered from serious heart conditions that cannot be treated locally.

This week it was announced that the unit will close in the next year, leaving families having to travel to Birmingham or Southampton for surgery.

Dozens of people have contacted the Northamptonshire Telegraph to express their disappointment at the decision.

Samantha Parkinson, who suffers from rare Ring Chromosone 18 disorder, has been treated there for 12 years.

Last year she had life-saving heart valve replacement surgery at Glenfield. Her mum Michelle, who has campaigned to keep the unit open, said: “They have ignored 100,000 people who signed a petition to keep it open. We are going to have to go to Southampton or Birmingham for her next heart valve operation now.”

Lawrence Edward McBride of Corby was treated there after being born in Kettering General Hospital in November 2011 with serious heart valve and lung problems. He was transported to Glenfield Hospital where staff attached an ECMO machine. Dedicated staff there battled to save his life and he began to improve. But he developed a severe bleed and died in the arms of his mum, Victoria.

Dad David said: “We had 12 priceless days with Lawrence which we would not have had if it wasn’t for the equipment and care of the staff at Glenfield.”

And mum Victoria said: “It’s ridiculous to close such an amazing place.”