Teen heart patient in agony despite ‘cure’ surgery

Maria Gillon with mum Adele. Picture: Jane Barlow
Maria Gillon with mum Adele. Picture: Jane Barlow
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A teenager who is unable to go to school because of a life-threatening heart condition has spoken of her despair after she found herself back in hospital just weeks after an operation that was meant to cure her.

Maria Gillon, 14, was praying that an operation in June would sort out her ventricular tachycardia, which causes severe chest pain, impaired vision and loss of hearing, and allow her to go back to the normal life she enjoyed before the condition struck three years ago.

But in a harrowing diary, the youngster wrote that the problem is worse than ever, with Maria having up to 16 terrifying seizures per day and being left in constant pain.

Maria, of Gorebridge, was readmitted to the Royal Infirmary last week and her mother, Adele, today called on the NHS to sort out her daughter’s 
problems once and for all.

Speaking from her hospital bed, Maria said: “It’s got a lot worse and that’s been a big disappointment. It’s sad, boring and I’m in a lot of pain.

“I can’t have a normal life. I can’t do karate, go to school or see my friends. I just want to go back to how I was. I wrote down what was going on since the operation for the doctors to see.”

Maria describes low moods, pain in her chest, neck, shoulder and face, dizziness, extreme fatigue, hearing problems and a too fast or slow heart rate. Overall, she says she feels 90 per cent worse.

Adele said that she had been driven to her wits’ end by her daughter’s condition, and felt she was being abandoned by the NHS following operations at Glasgow’s Sick Kids Hospital in November and the Golden Jubilee National Hospital in Clydebank two months ago.

The 33-year-old said Maria has been shunted between neurology and cardiology departments with neither taking responsibility.

“Even now they’re trying to get her out of the hospital and have started saying it’s something she may have to live with,” she said. “I’m not going to accept that as she has no quality of life. She can’t even go to see her friends because she’s paranoid about having an attack in front of them.”

Tracey Gillies, NHS Lothian’s associate medical director, said that Maria would continue to receive “expert clinical care”.

She added: “We are sorry to hear that Ms Gillon is unhappy with the care of her daughter. These concerns have not been brought to us formally and I would urge her to come forward.

“Staff have done their utmost to keep Ms Gillon and her daughter informed of every decision taken in her care and I would like to reassure Ms Gillon that each decision has been made according to clinical need and in the best interests of her daughter’s care.”