Sunday 26 January 2020

'Mammy please let me have surgery so I can go play' - mother writes open letter to Simon Harris after eighth cancellation

Tommy Kinsella (7) form Wexford
Tommy Kinsella (7) form Wexford

Ian Begley and Allison Bray

A mother from Co Wexford 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 Independent.ie that they have been told the same thing each week since November.

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

In a post on Facebook, she claimed the cancellations have 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. “At this stage 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.

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

“But like every seven-year-old boy, 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, “why can I not go back to school to see my friends?”, “why can’t I go play hurling and football, mammy?” “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.

Minister for Health Simon Harris. Picture: Credit: Frank McGrath
Minister for Health Simon Harris. Picture: Credit: Frank McGrath

Ms Kinsella said she has no issue with the staff or hospital – which she described as excellent – but the pressure the system is under.

In a statement Children's Health Ireland said they do not comment on individual cases:

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. Patients are scheduled based on clinical need, unfortunately surgery may need to be deferred due to consultants needing to prioritise emergency cases," it said.

"The decision to delay admission is not undertaken lightly and when such a decision is made, it is based on the safe delivery of care to all patients. In the event that a case is deferred the consultant and the team communicate directly with the family and endeavour to reschedule the case as soon as possible."

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