Mum’s anger over heart op suspension

Cassie Symms holding zumbathon to raise money for the Children's Heart Surgery Fund.  Pictured center is Cassie Symms with her son Zander Symms, one  (w120615-2i)
Cassie Symms holding zumbathon to raise money for the Children's Heart Surgery Fund. Pictured center is Cassie Symms with her son Zander Symms, one (w120615-2i)

A Dinnington mum whose son had life-saving heart surgery at a specialist unit in Leeds has slammed the suspension of cardiac operations there.

Cassie Symms’ son Zander Jak has been cared for by the children’s heart unit at Leeds Royal Infirmary since his birth.

The unit is at the centre of a row over the future of children’s heart surgery in England and Wales.

Following a consultation, an NHS committee recommended the unit be closed. But that decision was later declared ‘unlawful’ by the High Court, which meant the whole process had to start again.

But now heart surgery has been suspended pending a review over concerns about the number of deaths at the hospital.

“I am upset for all the stress and heart ache this is causing,” said Cassie.

“I feel sick that if Zander’s condition - which could change at any time - could mean cardiac intervention, then where we would be able to go?”

But the medical director of the NHS, Bruce Keogh, said it was ‘a highly responsible precautionary step’.

In a statement, he said: “Some questions have been raised by the trust’s own mortality data and by other information. It is important to understand that while this information raises questions, it does not give us answers.”

For now children who would have been treated in Leeds will be sent to other hospitals around England.

The chief executive of Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust has said outside experts would be drafted in to help review ‘all aspects’ of care.