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Mr Cowen, please give us more hospital beds so I'll be able to have my heart op

A BOY who faces a year's wait for vital heart surgery has written a Christmas card to the Taoiseach asking for more beds in our children's hospitals.

Aaron Carey (9) has already undergone heart surgery three times, including two open-heart operations, in his short life.

His parents worry that if the brave nine-year-old is forced to wait longer for his fourth procedure, he will start suffering from potentially deadly heart failure.

"Aaron first had surgery when he was just four days old, then again when he was six months old and six years old because of a birth defect," mum Aisling (37) told the Herald.

"We were hoping that the last operation would be the final one but we found out about a month ago that one of his heart valves is leaking."

Aaron's activity levels must be monitored as strenuous effort can cause him to faint and his mum had to quit her job two years ago to become his full-time carer.

"It's been a constant worry since his birth but finding out he needed another operation was a complete and utter shock -- we thought he was fine," the mother of two said.

"It's tough to see him so unhappy and weak but we're hopeful.

"Now he's on the waiting list for the operation at Our Lady's Children's Hospital Crumlin and we don't expect that he will get the surgery for more than a year.

"The longer you wait, the worse his condition will get."

Whenever her son's condition deteriorates, she has to take him out of school and keep him from playing football, which upsets him greatly.

So when Aaron heard about the Christmas Wish campaign from the Protest Against Child Unfriendly Budget group, he wrote to the Taoiseach.

His card to Brian Cowen read: "My wish for Christmas is that there will be more beds in Crumlin so that I can have my operation and play football."