Teenage girl changes her mind about life-saving surgery

By Calvin Palmer

A critically ill teenager who opted to die at home rather than undergo risky heart transplant surgery has changed her mind.

In November, doctors tried to have Hannah Jones made a ward of court but with the support of her parents she won her case.

She had been told that a heart transplant was risky and that she would almost certainly require a second transplant within 10 years. Without the operation she could die at any time, doctors said.

But last week, she suffered kidney failure after celebrating her fourteenth birthday.

After being reassessed, however, she was told that there was now a good chance she would make a full recovery if she underwent the procedure as she had grown and was stronger.

She has now asked to be placed on the heart transplant waiting list at Great Ormond Street children’s hospital in London.

Speaking from Hereford Hospital, Hannah said: “I know I decided I definitely didn’t want this, but everyone’s entitled to change their mind.

“I fell ill last Sunday but I just thought I’d overdone it on my birthday… actually, it turned out, it was my kidneys.

“The right side of my heart isn’t beating at all and, after lots of tests, I realised there were more benefits to having a new heart to staying like I was.

“If I had a new heart, I’d be on fewer tablets than I am at the moment. I take 27, but afterwards it would only be about 12.”

Hannah was unable to have dialysis to treat her kidney problem because her heart is not strong enough to cope.

She suffered a hole in the heart after being treated for leukaemia as a young child and has been in and out of hospital most of her life.

The past eight months spent at home in Marden, Herefordshire, have given her the break she needed to reassess her life.

Her mother Kirsty Jones, 42, a former nurse, was delighted with Hannah’s decision.

She said: “I’m absolutely happy to leave the decision to her. But I’m glad she made this decision.

“Hannah’s incredibly brave and we are behind her 100 per cent.”

[Based on a report by The Times.]

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