Mum’s heart fears as petition ends

27th June 2011'Jo and Tony Smith have been campaigning to keep the heart unit at LGI open because their son Josh has a serious heart condition which needs constant treatment.' PICTURE: MATTHEW PAGE
27th June 2011'Jo and Tony Smith have been campaigning to keep the heart unit at LGI open because their son Josh has a serious heart condition which needs constant treatment.' PICTURE: MATTHEW PAGE

THE mother of a Pontefract toddler fears for her son’s future as the petition to save a children’s heart unit draws to a close.

The Save Our Surgery (SOS) campaign, which is fighting to keep the children’s cardiac unit at Leeds General Infirmary (LGI), will finish tomorrow (July 1).

But concerned mum Joanne Smith said closing ward ten at LGI could cost her two-year-old son, Josh, his life.

Mrs Smith, 44, said: “I know it sounds dramatic but we might as well say goodbye now if it closes, because he would never make it to Newcastle.

“Three times we have been in Leeds. We nearly lost him on one occasion, we were told he wasn’t going to make it out of surgery.

“But because of the way they dealt with him, they managed to save his life.”

Little Josh has already undergone major surgery three times at LGI to treat congenital heart disease and his mum is now ‘frightened’ about moving his next surgery to Newcastle.

Mrs Smith, of Oliver’s Mount, said: “We know the team and his surgeon at LGI. They know Josh’s case and the fact he would have to go somewhere else is a bit frightening.

“We know all the staff on ward ten and there’s a team spirit there and they all work together. I’m assuming there would be that set up in Newcastle, but it’s getting to know them.

“We don’t know how long we have got him for, which is why I would feel confident in Leeds’ surgeons looking after him.”

Campaigners presented their case for keeping the unit open to the House of Commons last week as the government looks to reduce the number of children’s heart units nationwide.

Go to www.chsf.org.uk to sign the petition online.