The Melton mum of a boy who had life-saving open heart surgery at just six-weeks- old at a Leicester heart unit has backed a campaign to keep the service open.
NHS England is considering closing the East Midlands Congenital Heart Centre at Glenfield Hospital because it does not meet new health quality standards.
A 130,000 name petition of support was last month delivered to to 10 Downing Street by cross-party MPs and thousands of people have marched in protest through the city.
And Kerry Michelson, of Grange Drive, has added her backing to the campaign after her four-year- old son, Harvey, recovered from a hole in the heart through his treatment at the unit.
She told the Melton Times: “He wouldn’t have survived if we had had to go any further afield for treatment.
“The consultant we had from the start is still involved in Harvey’s care because he has to go for two-yearly check-ups to Glenfield.
“That continuity of care is so important and we would lose that if we had to take him to another hospital somewhere else, like Birmingham.”
Kerry, and husband Paul, were given the devastating news 34 weeks into her pregnancy that Harvey had an issue with his heart.
The couple received enormous support, she said, from staff at the Glenfield unit.
“It was very bad news for us when we were told the results of that scan,” said Kerry.
“It was really helpful to have the ante-natal support and all the follow-up care they gave us.”
Harvey, who now attends Sherard School in Melton, was operated on at six-weeks- old, with a band being placed around his pulmonary artery to prevent blood getting into his lungs.
He also had two further bouts of open heart surgery, one to replace the band and the other to remove the band and repair the hole in hisheart.
Harvey sustained a brain injury during the final surgery – something Kerry said they were warned could happen – which now affects his speech.
Kerry, who also has a six-year-old son called Seth and an 18-month-old daughter called Freya, said it was important for other parents in Melton to have the option of attending a heart unit nearby if they have children requiring similar treatment to Harvey.
She added: “We had a three-year-old when Harvey first had surgery.
“If we’d had to go Birmingham for the treatment we would have gone weeks without seeing our other child which would have been very tough. I’m really hoping this campaign is successful and they keep the Glenfield heart unit open.”