Northern Ireland news

Dáithí to undergo surgery family hopes will get him back on heart transplant waiting list

Dáithí Mac Gabhann, who helped change the north's organ donation law earlier this year. Picture: Donate4Dáithí/Facebook
Paul Ainsworth

THE family of west Belfast boy Dáithí Mac Gabhann have said the youngster who helped change the north's organ donation law is to undergo surgery this week amid hopes he will be placed back on the heart transplant waiting list.

Last month, the family of the six-year-old said they were "devastated" after learning he had been temporarily suspended from the transplant waiting list over "unresolved issues".

His father, Máirtín Mac Gabhann, revealed that a medical team in Newcastle, England had taken the decision after discovering collateral blood vessels growing over time, which meant future transplant surgery would be too high risk unless resolved.

On Sunday, the family said they had a date secured for new surgery they hope will see Dáithí back in line for a new heart.

The youngster, who was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, has been on the heart transplant waiting list since 2018.

"Dáithí will travel to Newcastle on Wednesday and undergo a cardiac catheter on Thursday, which will hopefully get him back active on the heart transplant waiting list," the family said in a social media post, adding: "All positive thoughts and prayers welcome."

Most adults in the north are now considered potential organ donors as a result of the Organ and Tissue Donation (Deemed Consent) legislation, which came into effect on June 1.

Read more: Family of young boy behind Dáithí's law reveal 'devastating' news he has been suspended from transplant list

Read more: Dáithí Mac Gabhann: Messages of support flood in for after transplant setback

The legislation is known as Dáithí's Law, in honor of the Ballymurphy youngster whose family spearheaded the campaign to change the previous opt-in donor laws.

The legislation was passed at Westminster earlier this year by Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris after it could not be passed at Stormont as a result of the DUP's power-sharing boycott.

Last month saw Belfast City Council award Dáithí the Freedom of Belfast in honor of his campaign.


Northern Ireland news