'My new year wish - no more pain for Patrick'
The mother of a non-verbal boy with juvenile arthritis has criticised the length of time her son must wait for injections that would reduce the joint pain he lives with.
Elaine Kehoe's son Patrick (11), who has Down syndrome, has undergone many medical treatments in his short life.
He had open heart surgery when he was six months old and had screws inserted into both his ankles due to low muscle tone. He also broke his femur due to arthritis.
Patrick is now waiting for steroid injections that would alleviate his joint pain. His family were told in August he needed the injections.
They were advised in November that they would be waiting four to five months for treatment.
Patrick has at least three active joints which are inflamed and need to be treated.
He is waiting for a date for treatment at Our Lady's Children's Hospital in Crumlin, Dublin.
Elaine and husband Mark give Patrick injections twice a week to try to reduce their son's discomfort.
She says administering this is "extremely traumatic for Patrick".
Elaine is utterly frustrated at the time it is taking for the appointment.
"I'd like to ask the Health Minister to try to put himself in our shoes and show some empathy," she said.
"How would he like if it was one of his children in pain, if they were non-verbal and couldn't verbalise how sore they were? We have been through such stress as a family and my new year wish would be no more pain for Patrick."