Anguish for family over cancelled heart operation

Louise Sedgwick, Dave Hughes (who needs a heart transplant) and their baby son George
Louise Sedgwick, Dave Hughes (who needs a heart transplant) and their baby son George

The family of a Wigan man awaiting a heart transplant have told of their agony after a series of catastrophic events unfolded over the weekend.

Baby George, who is only 10-months-old, touched hearts across the borough last week as he backed an appeal to find his dad a new heart.

Dave Hughes, 31, from Whelley, is now waiting to go on the “urgent” transplant list after a failed attempt to give him a new heart.

His partner, 24-year-old Louise Sedgwick, told the Post: “He got a call for a heart on Thursday, got put to sleep and then had to be woken again. It was heartbreaking for all of us. They’re definitely putting him on the urgent list now.

“They said that the donor heart was good enough for transplant so Dave got put to sleep but then they got a phone call to say the donor had a cardiac arrest so they couldn’t use the heart. If it was another 30 minutes later Dave would have been cut open and may not have made it through.”

Dave, who has been staying in hospital 150 miles away in Newcastle, has finally been allowed to come home, but now faces another agonising wait for a lifeline as he is transferred to the urgent list.

The new parents have been forced to spend days and weeks apart as Dave undergoes procedures.

He has suffered with heart problems since he was born due to a congenital condition known as transposition of the great arteries, which meant his major arteries were the wrong way round.

Aged just 27, Dave was given a prognosis of five years to live without a transplant, and Louise has previously said that she is scared baby George may have to grow up without his father.

Louise continues to campaign for more organ donors, urging people to sign up to the register and to inform any family of their wishes.

Despite the personal decision to donate one’s organs after death, families of the deceased still have the right to override their loved ones decision and refuse donation. Louise said: “Donors need to tell their families as well. You have to make it clear that it is what you want. A lot of people will have signed but their families have gone against their decision.”

Wiganars are currently the most generous organ donors in Greater Manchester, with recent figures showing a 33 per cent rise in people registered as an organ donor compared to five years ago.

Last year, 25 people alone in the borough needed new organs to change or save their lives and 244 people across the region were given new organs.

In 2016, The Post launched our “Giving The Gift Of Life” campaign after cystic fibrosis sufferer Jack Johnstone received a double lung transplant.

Those interested in signing up to help families like Dave’s can do so via www.organdonation.nhs.uk or call 0300 1232323.

Data showing the number of patients in need of new organs across the UK has revealed that 80 children are currently waiting for a kidney and 30 are awaiting a heart.

The information, which is available via the NHS, shows that there are 246 people on the active transplant list waiting for a heart, including 30 children under the age of 18.

Sadly there are also 43 children waiting for a new liver and nine waiting for lungs.

In positive news, the National Organ Retrieval Service attended 842 possible donors last year, with 98 per cent of these proceeding to donation.

From this, 52 per cent were transplanted.