Cash short mum’s Great Ormond Street dilemma

THE mother of a little girl who desperately needs heart surgery says that even if she gets the longed-for call from London surgeons saying they are ready to operate, she is too poor to do anything about it.

Cash-strapped mum-of-four Louise Ferguson said this week that three-year-old Skye will have to go without life-enhancing surgery to close a growing hole in her heart unless some way is found to pay for their travel costs.

Already in debt to fund a previous consultation at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, the 25-year-old was this week turned down for a Social Fund grant she hoped would pay her expenses, leaving her too poor to attend another appointment.

“I just feel like crying,” she said. “I am on benefits and there is simply not a single spare penny for anything extra. Last time it cost me �180 and I haven’t been able to pay that back yet.

“The hospital could ring me up tomorrow and there is no way I would be able to go. It breaks my heart because I know she really needs it.”

Ms Ferguson, who moved to Great Yarmouth four years ago from Luton, has three other children aged eight, six and five but has to keep an especially vigilant eye on Skye who suffers frequent, severe chest infections.

Skye, who needs the operation before she starts school in September, was born nine weeks early with a host of problems.

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She spent her first three months in special care, the two small holes in her heart being a more minor disorder compared to the bleed in the brain and other complications.

Now the holes have merged and enlarged to form one which is about 12mm across and growing. Although on a day-to-day basis the tot is fairly well and enjoys playing with chums at Park Play Group her life would become more limited and possibly be cut short if the operation did not go ahead.

Ms Ferguson and Skye travelled to Great Ormond Street Hospital in October but the little girl was too ill to have the planned surgery to close the hole. Another operation in December was cancelled because of a chest infection.

Now Ms Ferguson, who works seasonally in Regent Road, fears her daughter is being condemned to years of poor health and could suffer heart failure for the sake of a few hundred pounds.

She added the shortfall was especially galling when cash seemed to be sloshing around in the form grants for less deserving cases.