Families thank unit which ‘saved sons’ lives’

Jacob Smith and his friend Joby Buxton
Jacob Smith and his friend Joby Buxton
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FAMILIES OF two youngsters born with rare heart conditions have spoken out in defence of an under-fire Yorkshire hospital unit after it was given a clean bill of health.

Doctors and nurses at Leeds General Infirmary‘s children’s heart surgery unit have been credited with saving the lives of 28-month-old Jacob Smith and Joby Buxton, aged 13, from Sheffield, who were both born with rare conditions.

Jacob, who has Down’s Syndrome, was just five days old when medics at Leeds General Infirmary saved his life with open heart surgery. At seven-months-old he was brought back from the brink of death a second time when he began outgrowing a cardiac shunt fitted during the first operation. At the time, the unit was under threat from closure.

Joby, born with a narrowing of a valve in his heart, underwent a procedure to open the valve at the age of 11. Earlier this year, doctors keeping a close eye on the teenager found the valve had been leaking blood into Joby’s bloodstream. They have ordered now life-saving open heart surgery, due to be carried out in a matter of weeks.

His mother, Angela Buxton, said: “I don’t even like thinking about what would have happened if they hadn’t picked up on Joby’s problem so quickly.”

The boys’ families, who have both campaigned to keep the unit open, have organised a fun day to raise cash for the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund - and thank doctors and nurses - at the Carlton Club, Gleadless, Sheffield, on Saturday, April 26.

Mrs Buxton, 32, said: “The staff on the unit are fantastic with us. We trust them. They saved our sons’ lives.”