Saturday 19 January 2019

Little Aaron (9) who faces heart failure as wait for life-saving surgery goes on and on

A nine-year-old boy who has waited several months for life-saving heart surgery is now at risk of heart failure, his mum has claimed.

Aaron Carey from Leixlip has a congenital heart defect called Shone's complex, which means that the left side of his heart is undeveloped, and he has four different defects.

Like 100 other children in Ireland, Aaron has been waiting for open-heart surgery since November and he has faced cancellation and postponement of his operation, due to a lack of availability of intensive care beds. Aaron's mum Aisling told the Herald: "Aaron is in heart failure and he was put on medication in November to slow down the process of it.

"If he got really sick now and collapsed, we'd have to bring him in straight away, but you're hoping that doesn't happen because it could cause damage.

"The longer he's waiting, the chances are that his heart would be going into heart failure. You're waiting in case he gets sick and that's when the damage is done," she added.

The HSE said in a letter to Emmet Stagg TD, who made representations on Aisling's behalf, earlier this month that there were around 100 children on the cardio-thoracic waiting list, but that an additional 54 operations were performed last year due to extra theatre time, improved access to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and staff services.

But Aisling said: "We're still waiting. In November the doctors said that hopefully we'll have the operation between January and March, but January and February have gone now.

"It's fairly stressful.

"He's getting anxious and he's starting to get tired and breathless.

"He hasn't been himself. The last couple of weeks, he hasn't gone out to play. You can tell that he's a lot more tired and he's started to have a cough."

Aaron will go for an echocardiogram next Tuesday, which will determine the extent of his cardiac failure and if his condition has drastically deteriorated.


"They'll do another echo and they'll be able to tell if the left ventricle is getting any worse because it gets enlarged.

"Obviously I'd like Aaron done as soon as possible. It's very stressful waiting. You're watching him all of the time to see if there's a change; any time he coughs, you think is it his heart, and any time he has a pain."

A spokesperson for Crumlin hospital said enhancements had been made to improve its services to cardiac patients.

"Two additional Transitional Care Unit beds were opened in Our Lady's Children's Hospital in advance of additional ICU beds becoming available.

"The HSE has committed to replacing 13 of the hospital's existing 21 ICU beds and to provide four additional ICU beds.

"This will bring the total number of ICU beds at Crumlin to 25."


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