Heart-op family’s hospital plea

Henry Moore parents Shane and Suzanne
Henry Moore parents Shane and Suzanne

A FAMILY is calling on people to join the fight to save the hospital that carried out life-saving surgery on their three-year-old son.

Little Henry Moore, from Hartlepool, had open heart surgery at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital when he was just three-months-old.

Henry needed surgery to rebuild the inside of his heart after he was born with just one chamber in his heart instead of the normal four.

Doctors discovered the condition before his data analyst mum Suzanne McKenzie, 29, gave birth.

Medics had to rebuild his heart to create four chambers and valves in his heart in a life-saving operation when he was weeks old.

Henry spent several weeks in hospital after the procedure and has made a good recovery, although he has to go back regularly for checks.

Now Henry’s dad Shane Moore is appealing for people to back a campaign to save the hospital unit that changed their lives and saved the youngster.

The Freeman Hospital is a regional heart surgery specialist where youngsters from Hartlepool and east Durham are treated.

But the hospital, which carried out the UK’s first child heart transplant in 1987, is in danger of losing the unit as part of an NHS review.

The Safe and Sustainable consultation aims to improve standards by reducing the number of hospitals providing children’s heart surgery.

Henry’s parents are begging more people to register their support for the hospital after just a small number had responded so far.

Shane, 28, said: “Despite a successful Facebook campaign with 2,000 supporters there has only been 137 official responses to the review.

“From someone whose been through it as a parent I can understand what people are going through and to be faced with the prospect of having to travel even further rather than have a local service is one I don’t agree with.

“Children come from all over the country to the Freeman to have corrective surgery and the prospect of losing it just seems absolutely ridiculous.”

Henry has gone on to make a great recovery, but could need another operation when he reaches his teens.

Shane, who lives in West View, added: “The staff up there are fantastic.

“I know an awful lot of other people have had to go through a similar ordeal and unfortunately it will be the case for future families.

“Our message is for people to get involved now to stop the Freeman from being taken away.”

An NHS spokeswoman said: “There have been 137 responses from the North-East, but this is still low compare to other areas such as East Midlands where there have been 667 responses.

“We just want everyone to have their say so that we can create the best service possible for children.”

The public consultation runs until July 1.