Wednesday, 25 November 2015

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Hospital workers launch fundraising campaign after girl, 10, has heart attack

Three Carlisle hospital workers have launched a fundraising campaign after being moved by the plight of a 10-year-old girl who suffered a heart attack.

Emma Ross photo
Emma Ross

Emma Ross, whose mother previously worked at the city’s McVitie’s biscuit factory, collapsed shortly after her father Lindsay, 36, arrived to collect her from school on February 27.

He could only watch and hope as teacher Susan Black desperately carried out CPR on the youngster.

She and paramedics kept the youngster’s heart going for 44 crucial minutes but Emma suffered brain damage and now faces a long battle to regain her strength and health.

The schoolgirl, from Heathhall, Dumfries, is currently a patient at the Yorkhill Hospital in Glasgow. Doctors say her heart attack was triggered by cardiomyopathy, the rare disease which almost killed footballer Fabrice Muamba in 2012.

Her mother Robyn Stewart, 32, has been at her daughter’s side throughout her ordeal thanks to the Ronald McDonald Trust, which provides accommodation for the families of seriously ill children.

Now nurses Gemma Lowis, Gemma Qi, and healthcare assistant Karen Johnstone from the Cumberland Infirmary are planning to hold a fundraising raffle, raising cash to help the charity and buy specialist equipment for Emma.

Karen, 44, said: “Emma’s family were told to prepare for the worst and a priest was even called in at one stage.

“But Emma’s a fighter and things are slowly improving. She’s responding well to physio and trying to mumble words.

“Her family hope she will be home by September but before then she faces an operation which may reveal the full extent of the brain damage caused by the heart attack.”

Medics also plan to implant a £27,000 electronic pump into Emma’s body which will pour drugs directly into her spinal fluid and hopefully reduce her muscle spasms and pain.

Emma’s mum said: “She’s never been in hospital in her life.

“Emma has loads of friends and was very academic. We’ll never give up on her.

“Being able to stay at Ronald McDonald House has made a huge difference.

“It’s meant I’ve only had to leave her a couple of times. If I’m not there she goes into a depression.”

Anybody who can donate a prize for the fundraising raffle in August should contact Karen and the two Gemmas. The email address is

Alternatively, call Karen’s mobile on 07871014999.


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