The fifth part of the series following the patients, families, and clinical teams of Great Ormond Street Hospital continued on Tuesday 12 June at 9pm on BBC2.
‘Decisions for Life’ follows the work of the cardiothoracic team, specialists in the work of diagnosing heart problems in unborn children. This episode tells three stories:
Niels is only ten days old, but arrives from Germany with a life-threatening heart defect, but his case is complicated by a severe problem with his airway. Despite the complexity of the procedure, the team must decide if to operate on both Niels’s heart and airway at the same time.
Six-month-old Freya had surgery for a serious heart defect when she was just a few days old. Freya is now fed through a tube and has a tracheostomy, but needs another operation. She has never left the hospital.
Vanessa’s unborn son Harrie has been diagnosed with a serious heart condition, which means that when he is born his heart won’t be able to pump blood to the lower part of his body. A few hours after being born, Harrie arrives at GOSH.
With more and more children with complex heart defects surviving surgery, doctors know that it is the long-term outcomes that are the real measure of success. Dr Cho Ng, one of the department’s Consultant Intensivists tells the programme: “We’re taking on more and more complex cases; children we would not have operated on in the past. But the consequences are that children are surviving, but with imperfect conditions and then that becomes the challenge.”
Watch Decisions for Life on BBC iPlayer and read an interview with Victor Tsang, Paediatric Cardiothoracic Surgeon.