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Father with serious heart condition witnesses birth of first child thanks to transplant

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A young father with a serious heart condition was able to witness the birth of his first child thanks to a successful heart transplant.

Ross Peters, from Dundee, was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy when he was 21 – a disease of the heart muscle which affects its ability to pump blood around the body.

His health then deteriorated five years later during the coronavirus lockdown in the UK, and he was readmitted to hospital and became too ill to leave.

Stuck in a hospital bed when his wife Shauni was pregnant with their first child, he feared he would miss the birth.

Ross Peters before his transplant
Image: Ross Peters before his transplant

But he was granted a transplant after eight weeks in hospital and was by his wife’s side when she gave birth to their son Louis four months later.

He described the success of the transplant as if “a weight has been lifted”.

“All I could think about was being out for Louis’s birth, which I didn’t think would happen,” Mr Peters added.

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“After the transplant I took each day at a time, step by step, working up to being able to carry the baby out of the hospital – which I did.

“I take 15 tablets every day but I roll out of bed – I can do anything I set my mind to, nothing stops me.

“Now, I can raise my son and none of that would have been possible without a heart transplant,” he said.

Ahead of Organ Donation Week, which runs from 20 to 26 September, he said he was “so grateful” to his donor, and thanked everyone at the Golden Jubilee who supported him and his family.

NHS Golden Jubilee provides regional and national heart and lung services for NHS Scotland, with its team performing some 36 heart transplants since the start of the pandemic.

Dr Jane Cannon, NHS Golden Jubilee consultant transplant cardiologist, said: “Sometimes people are so unwell when they come here that they can end up on the urgent heart transplant waiting list.

“This means that they don’t leave hospital until they receive a new heart.

“When patients go home post-transplant, everyday activities, such as getting up and opening the curtains or going for a walk, can really bring home the fact that they have been given the gift of life from people who have donated their organs.”

The Human Tissue (Authorisation) (Scotland) Act 2019 – passed by the Scottish Parliament in July 2019 – came into effect in March this year.

The new law provides for a “deemed authorisation” or opt-out system of organ and tissue donation for transplantation – meaning if you haven’t opted out when you die, it allows for the donation of certain organs and tissue for transplantation.

This does not apply if you are in an excluded group or it has been established that this would be against your views.