Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Baby Tiarna's Parents Call for Change in Law

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Baby Tiarna's Parents Call for Change in Law

Article excerpt

Byline: Kate Proctor and Ruth Lognonne Reporters jnl.newsdesk@ncjmedia.co.uk

ADESPERATE plea for a change in the law has been made by parents praying for a new heart for their baby girl.

Baby Tiarna Middleton underwent a world-first heart operation at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle on Tuesday and is being kept alive on an artificial "Berlin" heart.

She and her family are waiting for a better option, but face tough odds as a result of rules in the UK banning organ donations from children under two months old.

Parents Sharney Gray and Gary Middleton, of Rowlands Gill in Gateshead, hope their baby's case will highlight the drastic need for the law to change, and have now been backed by Labour MP Dave Anderson.

Sharney, 22, said: "Even if parents want them to be donors they can't be and it's stopping a lot of lives from being saved. For us, this rule has made things a lot worse."

Medical guidelines in the UK prevent children under two months old from being organ donors due to the difficulty in certifying whether an infant is brainstem dead. In many European countries, the USA and Australia babies are permitted to be donors.

"We don't agree with it and we know that doctors don't agree with it either," said Sharney. "Getting a heart from a baby under two months is only possible for us if it comes from Spain or France, where the rules are different - but even then we've just got four hours to get the heart from there to the Freeman Hospital."

Tiarna was born with the rare heart condition hypoplastic right heart syndrome on May 22. This means the right side of the heart has not formed correctly and this was picked up while she was still in the womb.

Within hours of her birth, doctors also detected that she had no coronary arteries.

Surgeon Massimo Griselli at the Freeman Hospital made medical history on Tuesday when he fitted her with a Berlin heart, making her the youngest and smallest baby in the world to receive the device. …

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