Mother in battle for transplant dies

PAPWORTH Hospital has declined to comment on the death of a mother of three who lost her battle to have a heart transplant. Ese Elizabeth Alabi, a Nigerian, aged 29, had applied to the High Court for leave to have the operation but the case was adjourned

PAPWORTH Hospital has declined to comment on the death of a mother of three who lost her battle to have a heart transplant.

Ese Elizabeth Alabi, a Nigerian, aged 29, had applied to the High Court for leave to have the operation but the case was adjourned after it was revealed that her visitor's visa had run out in March.

Ironically, her stay had been prolonged by her illness.

During the legal battle, doctors at Papworth are understood to have considered Ms Alabi "clinically appropriate" for a transplant, but were prevented from putting her on the urgent list because of Government regulations about the treatment of non-EU nationals.


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An inquest into her death was opened and adjourned by Cambridgeshire coroner David Morris last Tuesday.

Ms Alabi, who gave birth to twins in February, and had a two-year-old son, was living with her partner Abiodun Abe in Grays, Essex.

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He has indefinite leave to stay in Britain and is a former employee of the Post Office.

She is understood to have travelled between Nigeria and Grays several times and not previously overstayed.

She came to Britain in September, pregnant with their twins and intended to return to Nigeria for the birth.

She began feeling ill and breathless and was told she was not well enough to fly home.

Her condition deteriorated, and in March she was diagnosed with an enlarged heart and told her only hope was a transplant.

However, she was informed new Government rules meant that while British people, EU citizens, and those from some other countries were put on a priority "group one" list for donor hearts, she could only be put on the lower group which, with a severe shortage of donated hearts, meant she stood little chance of a transplant.

Her lawyers asked the High Court for a judicial review of the rules.

However, the judge adjourned the case for inquiries about Ms Alabi's application for exception leave to remain.

Soon after, she became too ill to have the transplant, even if a heart had been available. She died on Monday, May, 15.

A spokesman for Papworth Hospital said they were unable to comment on Ms Alabi's death until after the inquest had been completed.

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