BATTLING baby Lily-Rose Newman has pulled through major heart surgery.
The 11-week old youngster survived four hours in the operating theatre to repair a deadly problem in her tiny heart.
And now she is on the mend in a special cardiac unit at Leeds General Infirmary – a unit that is under threat of closure.
Her parents, Tony and Clare, are full of praise for the surgeons and nursing staff who have saved their baby daughter.
And they are backing a campaign to save the unit, one of several threatened with closure.
If the Leeds unit is shut down, it will mean Huddersfield families could face 100-mile trips to hospitals in Newcastle, Liverpool or Birmingham.
Last night, Mr Newman was arranging a meeting with Colne Valley MP Jason McCartney to enlist his support to ensure the Leeds unit has a future.
“The entire staff at Leeds have been brilliant and cannot do enough, both for Lily-Rose and for the rest of the family.
“We are lucky. I have a car and can make the journey to Leeds from our home in Holmfirth but it is still an hour-long journey.
“Clare has also been able to stay with Lily-Rose in the hospital, which is a bonus, but I wonder how families would manage if they had to go to Newcastle or Liverpool and relied on public transport.”
The Newmans, of Thongsbridge, have a four-year-old daughter Lucy, who is perfectly healthy.
Problems with Lily-Rose were first spotted long before her birth, when doctors thought there may be a problem with her lungs.
Mrs Newman, 38, had regular scans throughout the pregnancy to check, but Lily-Rose was born on January 3 at Calderdale Royal Hospital seemingly healthy, weighing in at 8lb 15 oz.
Mr Newman, a 46-year-old IT manager, said: “A few weeks after her birth, doctors asked us to go in for a scan to make sure her lungs were okay.
“They took the scan, told us the lungs were fine but then announced there was a problem with her heart.
“There was a big problem with the aorta and she needed surgery. There was no other option.
“That was last Wednesday and by Friday, she was in the specialist unit at Leeds having a four-hour operation.
“She spent two days in the cardiac intensive care unit but has now been moved to a ward, and the prognosis is good.
“Clare is with her all the time and I’m dividing my time between the hospital and looking after Lucy.
“We are so lucky to have such a wonderful facility on our doorstep.
“We have been told Lily-Rose is doing well, although her weight is still only 8lb 12 oz and we are so grateful to the staff at the unit.
“She will be a patient for life and will need regular check-ups, with a 10-15% chance she may have to have further surgery if the aorta does not grow properly.”
Many people and groups have already backed the growing campaign to save the Leeds unit.
They include another Huddersfield mum, Gaynor Bearder, who took her views to Westminster to lobby MPs.
Her son Joel was saved by surgeons and staff at the unit.
Euro-MP Godrey Bloom is also backing the campaign to save the Childrens’ Heart Surgery Unit in Leeds.
The unit is currently under review by the NHS and is at significant risk of being closed.
The review panel has put forward four options for consultation, with this Yorkshire unit featuring in only one option.
Said Mr Bloom: “If it were to close, the hundreds of children who require life-saving surgery each year would have to travel long distances to another facility, which could put those children’s lives in even greater jeopardy.”.
The UKIP MEP for Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire added: “This network has been commended by the NHS and the framework is set to be copied around England and Wales, so why close down the leader”?