Posted on Friday 13 September 2013
Professor David Anderson, a heart surgeon at Evelina London, was the Daybreak's Health Hero runner up at this year's WellChild Awards.
The awards, held on 11 September, celebrate the inspiring qualities of some of the country’s seriously ill young people and the dedication of the people who go the extra mile to really make a difference to their lives.
Professor Anderson was nominated by six families. He was shortlisted to the final three out of hundreds of nominations.
Seven-year-old Teddie is one of triplets born at 31 weeks. Teddie was born with half a heart. No doctor would operate on him because he was so small, but Mr Anderson said he was willing to try, and has since operated on him twice more.
Teddie is now doing well. He struggles to keep up with children his age but he has a good chance of a normal life thanks to Professor Anderson. Teddie’s mum, Lianne Dempsey, says: “'Thank you' is not enough. How can you say thank you enough to someone who has held your child’s heart in his hands?”
Kerry Pesckett’s daughter Mia seemed like a healthy baby girl, but at just eight-weeks-old she was diagnosed with a severe heart condition that needed immediate open heart surgery. Despite the risks, Professor Anderson completed the operation and saved Mia's life. In fact he's operated on her two more times – a consistency that Kerry says has made such stressful times that little bit easier.
Mia is now an active seven-year-old. Kerry says: “He saved my daughter's life three times and explained everything so we knew exactly what was going on. Without him we would have lost everything. He’s dedicated to every patient and he’s the most caring professional I’ve ever known.”
Professor Anderson says: “I’m really flattered that families have nominated me for this award. I just feel like I’m doing my job, but it’s wonderful to know they think I’m doing a good job!
“During my 23-years at Evelina London, it’s been incredible to watch the patients I treated as newborn babies grow up into healthy, happy adults. I’m glad I listened to my headmaster who persuaded me to be a doctor, rather than a vet!”
Children’s heart services at Evelina London deal with the diagnosis and treatment of children’s heart problems from before they are born through to childhood and into adulthood. The department has an international reputation and cares for around 6,000 patients each year.