'Firecracker' four-year-old from Leeds died after heart surgery complications

Rose O'Leary-Hall
Rose O'Leary-Hall was 'full of mischief and love', her parents said. Credit: Family handout

The parents of a girl who died from a heart condition at the age of four have paid tribute to their "spectacular firecracker".Rose O'Leary-Hall, from Pool-in-Wharfedale, Leeds, died on 4 September after complications following the latest in a string of operations to repair a heart defect.

Her parents, Katie and Sue, described her as "full of mischief and love and kindness and fun".

Sue said: "She was everything on stilts. I can't believe we are organising how to say goodbye. Rose was an absolute firecracker and so spectacular. She left a mark on everyone she met and people felt a connection to her."

Katie added: "She did everything at 100mph. She was really, really mischievous but also really loving. She did everything at 100% - she cared, she loved at 100%."

Rose had an interrupted aortic arch, a condition affecting one in 50,000 people where the aorta fails to form properly.

She had surgery to repair the defect when she was born, but needed a second operation at10 months-old and a third in August this year.

Rose underwent several surgeries to try to repair her heart. Credit: Family handout

Katie told the Yorkshire Live website: "After that, everything was just going well. She was extubated and started moving - not talking very much, but she said 'hi mummy.' It all just went horribly, horribly wrong."Rose developed an infection and suffered heavy bleeding. Despite further surgery, her blood loss was "catastrophic".

Katie said: "What they think happened is that this infection got into her heart and the tissues began to crumble and the patch they had done in the surgery was crumbling. They had to open her heart there and then because the chest compressions weren't working."People were running to the blood bank and getting blood. Her brain didn't have enough oxygen. They had to turn the machines off."An online fundraiser set up to support the couple has reached £5,000.

Sue said: "We are just gobsmacked by it all really. We have been through the most horrific trauma you could imagine and I feel we have just been in a dream-like sort of state really, fighting and fighting to save her and not being able to and you are just sort of living minute by minute."After we lost her, we have been living minute by minute. We wouldn't have asked anyone for money but we are just completely overwhelmed by the kindness and just highly humbled by it and the mark she made on everyone's life."

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