Emily's heart defect was diagnosed when she was just a month old. At six months she underwent an operation to stem the flow of blood to her lungs. Now surgeons have to rebuild her defective heart using a vein taken from her neck. Previous operations at the hospital had to be called off, either because of emergency admissions of other young patients or when members of the operating team became unavailable.
The Bristol Royal Hospital for Sick Children, which cancelled a life-saving heart operation for a two-year-old girl six times, has been ordered to review its procedures by Stephen Dorrell, the Secretary of State for Health, who said yesterday that the situation was "unacceptable". The hospital has apologised to the parents of Emily Casey, and promised that every effort will be made to see that she has her heart operation, now scheduled for 25 September.