THE 25th anniversary of a pioneering heart operation which saved the life of a seven-week-old baby is being gratefully remembered by an Accrington man.
Nathan Benson, of Malt Street, underwent four-and-a-half hours of life-saving surgery after doctors discovered he had been born with veins on the wrong side of his heart.
The veins feeding blood to his heart were on the right, instead on the left, which meant he experienced acute breathing difficulties.
The dad-of-one said: "Looking back now, I realise I am so lucky to be here.
"Before I went into the operation my parents were told I only had a 25 per cent chance of surviving but if I didn’t have the operation I had practically no chance of living past my first birthday.
"It must have been horrific for them to go through."
Nathan, who lives with his girlfriend Linda and has a three-year-old daughter, Alicia, had the operation at Liverpool Children’s Hospital in May 1983.
Doctors discovered his life- threatening condition when he was taken for a check-up after not gaining any weight in a month.
This led staff at Accrington Victoria Hospital, where he was born, to call in a consultant paediatrician who decided to admit him to Queen’s Park Hospital in Blackburn,
He was then placed in an incubator and blood tests were carried out to discover the problem.
Nathan’s mother, Elaine Benson, 48, said: "When he was born I knew there was something wrong. He didn’t take his milk properly and he just kept being sick.
"The actual operation was horrible, I’m not a religious person but those nights he was in intensive care I got down on my knees and prayed.
"When he eventually came out of intensive care it was really special because it was his sister’s second birthday."
Nathan, who now works at Senator International in Huncoat as a warehouse operative, has had no after-effects from the operation and has been able to live his life oblivious to the traumatic events of his childhood.