THE doctor who tried to save baby Miley Turbitt’s life is urging people to get behind the campaign.
Dr Richard Kirk has praised the bravery of her heartbroken family as they push their grief aside to launch In Miley’s Memory.
The consultant paediatric cardiologist at the Freeman Hospital says the campaign is vital and hopes Miley’s story will bring the issue to the forefront of people’s minds.
Miley suffered from the heart condition hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, so rare in babies that Dr Kirk says it is only the second time he has treated a child so young in his eight years at the hospital.
He said: “Miley came to us shortly after birth and a scan showed she had a major problem with her heart.
“After monitoring her for a few weeks she was eventually allowed home.
“But her condition worsened and it was when she was brought back to us that we realised she wouldn’t survive without intervention.
“We tried to reduce the thickness of her heart and she was put on the ECMO machine while we searched for a new heart.
“We knew finding a heart would be difficult and we wouldn’t have much time, as we were concerned she would develop complications on the ECMO machine.
“Sadly, that happened, and despite putting calls out across Europe and the UK, a donor did not become available in time and Miley died.”
Dr Kirk said the condition she suffered from has also killed older children and adults – while waiting for a donor heart.
He added: “The truth is, there are just not enough donors for people who need organ donations.
“It is a very difficult subject and the best time to think about it is now.
“This is why what Miley’s family are doing is so important.
“It can be very difficult for doctors to approach families when a loved one is dying or has died, so I would urge people to talk to their families, let them know your wishes and sign up to the register.
“Think about if their loved one was in need of an organ: would they accept one?
“And if they would, would they be prepared to give one?
“It’s also true for children. Sadly, children do die through accidents or illness, and their organs can be lifesaving for other children.
“For those families who have found it in themselves to donate their children’s organs, they have found comfort in knowing something good has come from something so sad.”