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UK: Hannah Jones, girl who wanted to die, is given a new heart

"Hannah Jones, the critically ill teenage heart patient who stopped doctors from forcing her to have a transplant but then changed her mind, is reported to be recuperating at home after receiving a donor organ.

Hannah, 14, was airlifted from her home near Hereford to Great Ormond Street Hospital in London to receive the transplant, The Sun reported today. Her parents, Andrew and Kirsty, were said to be at her bedside. A family friend was reported as saying that it would be a few days before the family knew how well things had gone. 'She's a brave kid and everyone is praying she makes a full recovery.' Hannah developed a hole in the heart after treatment for leukaemia as a toddler. She has been in and out of hospital for most of her life, and when her specialists told her that her only hope of living was yet another operation, she refused."

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"Doctors tried to have her made a ward of court in November last year so that she could be returned to hospital against her will, but their legal action failed.
Hannah's lawyers argued that as the doctors had warned her that the operation was risky, and that even if it were successful she would need another heart within ten years, she would rather die at home.

Her decision won admiration around the world.

Hannah spent the ensuing eight months at home in Marden, Herefordshire, a time free of operations and hospitals that she said had given her the respite that she needed to reassess her life.

It emerged last week that she had decided to go back on the transplant list after suffering kidney failure that put her back in intensive care soon after her fourteenth birthday this month.
This time doctors gave her a better prognosis for heart surgery, reassuring her that she had a good chance of a full recovery. They said that circumstances had changed since she was last assessed for a transplant, as she had grown and was stronger.

Speaking from Hereford Hospital, Hannah explained her decision to change her mind. 'I know I decided I definitely didn’t want this but everyone’s entitled to change their mind,' she said. 'I fell ill last Sunday but I just thought I’d overdone it on my birthday. Actually it turned out it was my kidneys. '
'The right side of my heart isn’t beating at all, and after lots of tests I realised there were more benefits to having a new heart to staying like I was. If I had a new heart, I’d be on less tablets than I am at the moment. I take 27 but afterwards it would only be about 12.'
Doctors at Hereford were unable to put Hannah on dialysis because her heart was not strong enough. She was put at the top of the transplant surgery list, and within days she was summoned to Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children for surgery.
Her mother, Kirsty Jones, 42, a former nurse, said before the surgery that she was delighted with Hannah’s change of mind.
'I’m absolutely happy to leave the decision to her,' she said, 'but I’m glad she made this decision. Hannah’s incredibly brave and we are behind her 100 per cent.'
A friend of the family said: 'Hannah’s being incredibly brave, as always. She’s had almost a year without hospital life and now feels strong enough.'"


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