Brave Ben, seven, becomes youngest person in the world to have special op in Leeds procedure

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A seven-year-old boy, who was injured in a road accident, has become the youngest person in the world to have a pioneering procedure.

Ben Kelly, who is from Pontefract, was rushed to Leeds General Infirmary after he sustained multiple injuries including damage to his aorta – the body’s main artery – in a crash in East Yorkshire at the end of July.

The youngster also suffered a broken pelvis and broken arm in the incident but CT scans revealed that the tear in his aorta was potentially life threatening and getting worse.

An emergency multidisciplinary meeting of medics at the hospital decided to treat Ben by using a minimally invasive technique normally used in adults or older children.

A covered stent was inserted through the blood vessel in Ben’s groin and guided by X-rays to treat the tear.

Dr Sapna Puppala, who performed the two-hour operation which was decided on by a 20-strong team of medics, explained that the procedure went “very smoothly” and was a “fantastic example of team work” by Leeds staff.

“Given the nature of Ben’s injuries we needed to act fast and were in agreement that Ben would benefit from a technique which up until now has only been performed on adults or children above 10 years of age,” Dr Puppala said.

“Aged just seven, Ben is the youngest patient in the world to have his aortic trauma treated using an endovascular technique.

“He is also the first child to be treated with this particular stent for trauma.”

Ben left the hospital in Leeds at the end of August and is continuing his recovery at home.

He will now be closely monitored to ensure his progress continues.

Experts from vascular interventional radiology, paediatric cardiothoracic surgery, vascular surgery and paediatric interventional cardiology from across Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust initially met to advise on Ben’s treatment.

The major trauma centre at Leeds General Infirmary is the specialist centre for children from across the Yorkshire region.


Leeds Teaching Hospitals is one of the biggest NHS trusts in the country, offering a range of both general and specialist hospital services.

The trust has an international reputation in specialist care, research and academic training. It runs LGI, Leeds St James’s Hospital, Chapel Allerton Hospital, Leeds Children’s Hospital, Leeds Dental Institute, Seacroft Hospital and Wharfedale Hospital.