Page last updated at 09:32 GMT, Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Heart refusal girl back at school

Hannah Jones at school before the operation
Hannah plans to do three days per week at school for the first term

A terminally ill girl who refused life saving heart surgery in 2007 and 2008 has returned to school after changing her mind and undergoing a transplant.

Hannah Jones, 14, of Marden, near Hereford, had the operation in London's Great Ormond Street Hospital in July.

She needed a transplant as her heart had been weakened by leukaemia medication she was on for years.

She initially refused as it meant more operations and taking drugs for life and she preferred to die with dignity.

Swine flu

Hannah had various health complications after the transplant but went back to St Mary's High School, in Lugwardine, on Monday.

I changed my mind because the way I was going I wasn't going to get much of a longer life and I wanted to see the world a bit and do more things
Hannah Jones

Her story is due to be broadcast later as part of a documentary on BBC One.

Her mother Kirsty said: "She spent ten days in the intensive care unit unconscious with her chest open because they couldn't close it up."

She developed chest infections that twice turned into pneumonia and then caught swine flu, she added.

"It's been a bit of a rollercoaster but that is nothing compared to what we experienced previously," Mrs Jones said.

Hannah only managed to go to school for half a day per week before the operation

Hannah said she found it "difficult" at first going back to school but added that it was "nice to get back to normal".

She plans to attend school on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays initially.

Her mother said: "We used to plan for today or tomorrow, now we are planning for the end of school terms. We will just have to see what this term brings."

Family holidays

Hannah was first offered a transplant in 2007 for a hole in her heart which had been further weakened by medication for leukaemia she had been taking since the age of five.

"I changed my mind because the way I was going I wasn't going to get much of a longer life and I wanted to see the world a bit and do more things.

"I think if I had said no again to the operation I would have regretted it because I would not have been well enough to do those things," she added.

Hannah said one of the greatest benefits of her new heart was that she could run around and "chase her brothers and sisters".

She said she was also looking forward to going on two family holidays this year to celebrate her improved health.

Hannah: The Girl Who Said No to a New Heart is due to be broadcast at 2235 GMT on BBC One (except in Northern Ireland)

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