Roisin Whitty was so worried about the health of her little boy that she wrote to Taoiseach Enda Kenny in a bid to secure a specialist appointment.
But, like thousands of others, she endured the frustration of a civil servant passing it on to Health Minister Leo Varadkar, who in turn sent her a standard response, forwarding it on to the HSE.
Finlay (6), of College Gardens, Carlow, is among more than 6,000 people waiting to see a specialist in Waterford Regional Hospital. He badly needs treatment for recurring ear infections.
Roisin said the procedure, which needs to be done under anaesthetic, is basic and involves the removal of wax and the possible insertion of tubes known as grommets to help drain fluid.
"Finlay was originally put on the waiting list to see a consultant in Waterford Regional Hospital in November 2012. The hospital paid for him to be seen privately by a specialist in the Whitfield Clinic in May this year. He said Finlay urgently needed to have the wax removed and possibly grommets inserted."
But he has since been put back on the public outpatient waiting list. His GP has marked Finlay's case as urgent and a hospital doctor who saw him at A&E did likewise.
He is now to see a specialist in Waterford in early December but Roisin fears it will be well into next year before the procedure can be carried out.
"We may have to just get a credit union loan and take Finlay to the UK to have it done privately," she said.
A spokesman for Waterford hospital said children in need of ear, nose or throat surgery are spread among the lists of four hospital consultants.
Minister for Health Leo Varadkar told the Irish Independent: "This is clearly a distressing case. As Minister for Health, I am precluded from giving direction to the HSE on individual cases. It would be wrong for a politician or minister to bump someone up a waiting list as that inevitably means someone else losing their place."
He said he hoped the procedure would be done as soon as is feasible.