Agonising wait is over for heart tot parents

Summer Carss in the Freeman Hospital.
Summer Carss in the Freeman Hospital.

An Alnwick tot, who had to wait more than six months for a donor heart, underwent a successful transplant operation at the weekend.

At the start of August, the Gazette reported how 20-month-old Summer Carss had been waiting for a heart transplant at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital since the start of the year.

Summer was born with a condition affecting the valve on the left side of her heart, but her condition worsened at the end of last year and complications from a chest infection caused her to suffer cardiac arrest.

Her parents Paul and Julie were told she would need the life-saving operation at the end of January, but from then it had been an agonising waiting game for a donor heart, made tricky as Summer is so small.

And on Sunday, the operation took place and, according to dad Paul, went extremely well.

“We are trying to get our heads around it after our long wait,” he said.

“It’s (the heart) a perfect match so hopefully she will be able to lead a normal life if the recovery goes to plan.”

Summer has been in hospital since the start of the year, and following the operation, she will likely stay there for another two or three months for her recovery.

The couple have been staying at the hospital to be close to Summer since she was first admitted.

But the doctors are pleased with how it has all gone so far and Paul and Julie have their fingers crossed that they will all be back at home as soon as possible.

“Our aim is to be home for Christmas,” Paul added.

Earlier this year, Summer was fitted with a revolutionary device known as a Berlin heart – an ‘artificial heart’ that pumps the blood around her body.

But it is only a temporary solution – and prior to the operation she had been on it longer than any other child at the Freeman had before.

The Freeman’s Paediatric Cardiothoraic Unit is one of only two hospital units that perform transplant operations on youngsters like Summer.