Families launch legal bid over Leeds heart surgery unit

ANXIOUS WAIT: Staff, parents and youngsters faced an anxious wait over the future of the Children's Heart Surgery Unit in Leeds.
ANXIOUS WAIT: Staff, parents and youngsters faced an anxious wait over the future of the Children's Heart Surgery Unit in Leeds.
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NINE FAMILIES whose children were treated at Leeds’ troubled children’s heart surgery unit are launching legal action to uncover the truth over failings in care.

The news comes after the parents of a schoolboy who died following a string of errors received an apology and compensation from senior bosses.

Kevin and Sharon Brough enlisted the help of legal experts to get to the bottom of what happened in the days leading up to the death of their son Bradley.

A cardiac surgeon consulted by the family’s legal team concluded that the 11-year-old’s care “fell below acceptable standards on several occasions”.

An apology from the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust’s medical director Bryan Gill said experts brought in from London Children’s Heart surgery Centre were critical of the surgery carried out on the youngster, while the whole unit came under fire for “confused messages” over his treatment.

Mr Gill said: “The clear opinion of the experts was that there were errors in the decision-making by the whole team.

“At times the confusion that reigned over communication.”

Bradley, who was born with a complex congenital heart defect, needed an operation to divert the flow of blood.

In a BBC documentary due to be broadcast this evening, Mrs Brough, from York, said she was given assurances by surgeon Nihal Weerasena, currently suspended by the trust, before the youngster went into surgery.

After nine hours, during which time Bradley’s mother and father say they were “kept in the dark” they were told something had gone wrong,.

But following three visits to an operating theatre within two days the youngster suffered a bleed on the brain.

Mr and Mrs Brough have now received a payout from the trust.

Dr Yvette Oade, the trust’s chief medical officer, said: “Lessons from Bradley’s death have been learned and changes have been put in place as a result.”

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