Albert's parents back e-petition fight to save Leicester's Glenfield Hospital children's heart unit
Albert Tansey lies in a bed at Glenfield Hospital fighting for his life. His parents, who have battled tirelessly to save the children's heart surgery unit, watch over him.
They say without the unit, which is set to be axed following an NHS review, things could have been so much worse.
Two-year-old Albert was born with half a heart, and has already undergone two life-saving operations at Glenfield.
On Sunday, he was rushed into the hospital with chest pains and is now being given tests to find out what is wrong.
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What has been crucial to the Tansey family is the fact that medical staff at Glenfield know so much already about Albert's condition and past treatment.
Once Glenfield's unit is axed, children requiring heart surgery would have to travel to a unit in Birmingham instead.
Yesterday his mum and dad, Annita and Adam Tansey, urged people to sign an e-petition aimed at raising the matter in Parliament and forcing a rethink.
Mr Tansey, from Burbage, said: "We don't know what would have happened to Albert over the weekend if Glenfield's heart unit wasn't there – it really doesn't bear thinking about.
"At the moment we are not quite sure what is happening, except that Albert's heart is not working properly. He is very poorly.
"The one thing is that the familiarity of the hospital and all the staff knowing Albert's history is making the situation much easier."
Albert was rushed to Leicester Royal Infirmary at 9am on Sunday and transferred to the specialist intensive care unit at Glenfield Hospital at 3.30pm.
While Mr Tansey watched over his son, supporters were signing the e-petition at an average of 250 people an hour during the day.
Among those to sign was Leicester City and England football legend Gary Lineker.
By 2pm today – just four days after its launch – 17,106 people had signed up.
Mr Tansey: "If we can get 100,000 signatures, we could get the matter debated in Parliament. The quicker we can get the numbers, the more it means the Government cannot ignore the issue or the strength of feeling."
He added: "We aren't sure what would have happened to Albert if services had already moved to Birmingham.
"We don't know where intensive care will be. At the moment everything is under one roof at Glenfield. Albert can be rushed down a corridor from intensive care to theatre in minutes – that can't happen if he has to go to Birmingham. It does seem very dangerous."
Glenfield is one of four hospitals in England which will have to stop carrying out children's heart operations as a result of the national review.
A consultant from the children's heart centre at Glenfield said: "Our job is to save lives and we want to carry on doing just that."
Members of the health watchdogs, the Leicester City and the Leicestershire local involvement networks (Links) are also fighting to challenge the decision not to keep children's heart surgery at Glenfield.
Members of the Leicester Mercury Patients' Panel will also take up the issue at a meeting with the interim hospitals' boss Jim Birrell tomorrow
To sign the e-petition, visit: http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/35788