Tuesday 23 January 2018

'I fear he'll have no quality of life' –Mum whose son suffers from severe scoliosis told to wait 18 months for hospital follow-up

Eoin Ward (13) is the oldest of three. He has been living with a dislocated hip for five years and now has to wait over a year for his next hospital appointment
Eoin Ward (13) is the oldest of three. He has been living with a dislocated hip for five years and now has to wait over a year for his next hospital appointment
Amy Molloy

Amy Molloy

The mother of a son with severe scoliosis who has been living with a broken hip for five years has been told he won’t get a hospital appointment until July 2018.

Eoin Ward (13) also suffers from cerebral palsy and epilepsy and his spine has 85pc curvature.

Following a recent doctor’s appointment, his mother Catriona was told he required "urgent" surgery.

Routine tests were done at a hospital before Christmas and Catriona thought Eoin would receive surgery in the New Year.

However, she has now been told that it will be over a year before Eoin will be seen for a "follow-up" appointment.

Speaking on RTE Radio 1’s Liveline today, Catriona fears that if the surgery is not carried out soon, her son will have "no quality of life" in the future.

"Myself and my husband are left in a position that we can feel we can do nothing, we feel our hands are tied," she explained.

Eoin is unable to communicate and has to be 100pc peg fed. His  muscles go into spasm on a daily basis.

"When he is showing us signs of discomfort, I have no idea where it’s coming from. I have no idea if it’s coming from his hip, his stomach, his back or his breathing.

"At the moment, if he was to have the surgery now, there would be a really good chance of him being able to fix the spine almost to 100pc. It will never be 100pc but there’s a good chance it will be fixed really well," she said.

Ms Ward said Eoin’s doctor said he was "seeing Third World conditions" and stressed how important it was for Eoin to have surgery as soon as possible.

"I made a few phone calls and thought ‘great, things are starting to move’. I expected to probably get a follow-up appointment in the New Year but I got a letter saying his next ‘follow-up’ will not be until next July, which will be in over a year.

"There is nothing they can do. He will definitely be waiting 18 months before he has surgery."

Catriona contacted the Joe Duffy show after watching an RTE Investigates documentary which laid bare the physical and emotional agony experienced by families on hospital waiting lists.

"Living on the List" spoke to patients on public waiting lists who are awaiting treatment or even an appointment with a doctor to confirm a diagnosis.

The mum-of-three said she had mixed emotions while watching the show.

"I went from crying to so angry, to crying again. I was barely able to watch it," she said.

Eoin has been living with a dislocated hip for a number of years but due to the condition of his spine, surgery to put his hip back into place was deemed too risky.

"I don't know if telling my story will help sort this mess out but it upset me so much. I couldn't do anything.  We need this to stop. No child should have to suffer the way all those kids were [on that programme]," she added.

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