‘When I met Chloe she was dead’: one girl, four hearts and an NHS miracle

10 April 2017

Chloe Narbonne and her mother, Fabienne. Chloe says: ‘Now I know that I have to grasp every moment.’ Photograph: David Levene for the Guardian

“By the time I met Chloe she was dead,” André Simon says matter-of-factly. “I told her parents clearly that she didn’t really have a chance to survive. What I was proposing gave her a theoretical chance.” He pauses. “But I also said that the operation might just prolong her agony and suffering – I didn’t even know if she would survive it – and that it was OK just to let her go.”

Simon, one of the world’s leading heart and lung specialists, is recalling the conversation he had at the beginning of May last year with Fabienne Narbonne and Todd Jancey that led to his implanting an artificial heart inside their 12-year-old daughter Chloe. “It was an emotional meeting, it was tense, it was horrible. They were trying to be calm but they were extremely anxious and were holding on to each other for support. They put their last hopes in me and they prayed for a miracle.”

Twenty-four hours later, Chloe was still unconscious – but alive. She was recovering from a complex nine-hour operation, which included a medical world first, at the NHS’s Royal Brompton specialist heart and lung hospital in London.

Heart surgeon André Simon. Photograph: Richard Saker for the Observer

She had just become the first child in Britain to receive an artificial heart. While others have been given a device known as a “Berlin heart”, which replicates its functions outside of the body, Chloe was the first in the UK to have had an artificial heart implanted. She remains the youngest person in Europe to have this procedure.
https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/apr/10/when-i-met-chloe-she-was-dead-one-girl-four-hearts-and-an-nhs-miracle

Thanks to NHA Party via @doctor_oxford, Rachel Clarke for the link.

GW:  Who deserves our accolades and whom would you rather fund – Dr André Simon the quietly spoken unassuming intelligent medical hero or an overweight blond blowhard buffoon known as ”BoreUs-AllToDeath” Johnson?  No comparison really is there folks.  Let’s hear it for Dr André Simon!

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