Monday 22 January 2018

'All I have ever done is my best for him' - Loving mum's shock at 'neglect' letter for son (5)

Immogen Jones’ little boy, Oliver, was born blind in Drogheda five years ago
Immogen Jones’ little boy, Oliver, was born blind in Drogheda five years ago

Greg Harkin

Social workers investigated a mother for neglect for failing to have her blind son assessed by medics – despite more than four years of pleas for help.

Immogen Jones’ little boy, Oliver, was born blind in Drogheda five years ago.

His mum, who is partially deaf, has worked tirelessly for other disabled people, campaigning to introduce text mess-age GP services in Louth and helping to develop communication aids for autistic children.

However, Immogen (32), who lives in Dunleer, said numerous pleas to have her son assessed by specialists have failed.

She claims Oliver has been referred for assessment by various specialists, but appointments were either cancelled or not made.

Since 2014, she has sent 731 letters, 46 by registered post, in a bid to get help, she told the Herald.

Immogen claims her life took a turn for the worse two months ago.

“I got a letter from Tusla in the middle of September saying we had been referred to social services,” she said.

“I was devastated. Two social workers came five days later and it became clear that the issue revolved around my apparent failure to secure adequate medical services for Oliver.

“I have a mountain of paperwork, and the letters to prove it, to show that I have been working tirelessly since Oliver was born to get him the best medical care, but all I have met with has been a brick wall.

“Now they’ve added the stigma of bringing in Tusla. I’m a good mother and I love my son and all I have ever done is my best for him.”

Immogen received an apology this week from Temple Street Children’s Hospital, which wrote to say the failure to see a consultant was due to an “administrative error”.

The letter offered an appointment, but a second letter that arrived on the same day contained devastating news.

“I was delighted that the hospital acknowledged they had made a mistake, but then I opened the second letter cancelling the appointment. I couldn’t believe it,” she said.

Human rights barrister Erin Flynn, who has been acting as an advocate for Immogen and her child, said the failure to help Oliver was “deplorable”.

“This is a woman who has done so much for others,” said Ms Flynn.

“It was Immogen who insisted that out-of-hours GP care services in her area had a text system for deaf people.

“She has also worked on a project at Drogheda IT to develop communication aids for autistic children.

“She just wants access to care and, unfortunately, so many referrals have never been followed through or were cancelled.

“To suggest neglect of Oliver because she has failed to secure medical treatment for him is a disgrace.

“She has a filing cabinet full of correspondence going back for years showing her efforts to help her son.”

A spokesperson for Tusla said they it not comment on individual cases. Temple Street did not respond to a request for comment.


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