Sunday 26 January 2020

'Mammy, please let me have my surgery so I can go play'

Boy (7) has heart operation cancelled for an eighth time

‘Smiles his way through life’: Tommy Kinsella (7) from Wexford
‘Smiles his way through life’: Tommy Kinsella (7) from Wexford

Ian Begley and Allison Bray

A mother has written an open letter to Health Minister Simon Harris after her son’s heart surgery was cancelled for the eighth time.

Tommy Kinsella (7), who was born with a congenital heart defect, was scheduled for a mitral valve repair/replacement procedure yesterday at Crumlin Children’s Hospital in Dublin.

But when he arrived at the hospital, his mum Noirin (32) and dad Gary (32), from Wexford town, were told their son’s surgery had been cancelled, yet again.

Although it has since been rescheduled for next Wednesday, Ms Kinsella told the Irish Independent they have been told the same thing each week since November. 

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In a post on Facebook, she  claimed the cancellations had all been due to bed shortages, emergencies and the understaffing of cardiothoracic surgical teams at the hospital.  

“Do I need to wait until my son is rushed to hospital in a life-threatening emergency for him to be treated?” Ms Kinsella asked. “We are desperate. We have to take time off work each time he is due for surgery. Tommy can no longer go to school and must wear a medical mask in public along with nasal medication in a bid to keep him safe from infection. His condition is a continual nightmare for us.

Tommy is comforted by his father Gary after he is told his heart operation was cancelled for the eighth time
Tommy is comforted by his father Gary after he is told his heart operation was cancelled for the eighth time

“Although he has been through more than his fair share in his seven years, he never complains and smiles his way through life.

“He wants to be able to play football and go back to school to be with his friends.”

Ms Kinsella added that her son keeps asking her, “please let me have my surgery so I can go play”. 

“I don’t have those answers for him so can you please advise me on how best to explain the farce that is our health system to our seven-year-old boy?” she asked. 

A spokesperson for Children’s Health Ireland (CHI) said they cannot comment on individual cases. The spokesperson added: “CHI is very cognisant of the impact that a change in admission for surgery has on patients and their families and sincerely regrets that on occasion deferment of planned admissions occurs.”

Health Minister Simon Harris did not respond to request for comment.

Irish Independent

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