London, Mar 28: A 16-year-old English girl has had 17 heart operations to save her life. Sarah Haselgrove of Hythe, Kent, was not expected to survive seven days after she was born five weeks prematurely, and had been operated five times before she was one.
She might have spent half her life in hospital, but that has not stopped her from living a normal life.
Sarah had Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, which meant that less than half her heart was working properly.
She underwent an operation repair her aorta with an artery from her arm when she was just three days old.
A hole in her heart was closed when she was just three months old, and then went on to have a total of 10 operations in two years.
Once Sarah even struggled for her life as she could not breathe with a paralysed diaphragm. She was fed through a tube in her nose as she kept vomiting.
Having undergone a number of operations, Sarah joined mainstream school at the age of nine.
The last operation on her took place when she was 13, to fit a new pacemaker.
"There are things I can't do. I concentrate on what I'm good at," the Sun quoted Sarah, who still has six-monthly check-ups, as saying.
She will take her GCSEs next year and hopes to become a dietitian.
Her mother Nicky, 45, said: "It is possible to defy the odds."