Irish mum writes open letter to Simon Harris as son's heart surgery is cancelled for the 8th time
This is absolutely heartbreaking.
A mum from Wexford has written an open letter to the Health Minister, Simon Harris, pleading with him for a better healthcare system after her 7-year-old boy was refused life-changing surgery for the eight time.
In the letter, which was posted to Change.org yesterday, she outlines her son's condition and says that he had to stop going to school and has to wear a medical mask while out in public.
The letter reads:
"Dear Simon Harris TD
"My name is Nóirín Kinsella and in this picture is my son Tommy and husband Gary.
"Tommy was born with a congenital heart defect and had a complex atrioventricular septal defect repaired under open heart surgery at the age of 11 months in Our Lady’s Hospital For Sick Children, Crumlin.
"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 parents."
Nóirín explains that she had to go to hospital with her son over Christmas, which is also not ideal as he is prone to contract infections.
"Tommy has been rushed to our general hospital in Wexford 3 times over Christmas with low oxygen levels and blood pressure. We don’t know which is the bigger worry, the medical condition which necessitated his visits, or the fear of infection when attending Wexford General Hospital, which is virtually in a state of shut down due to the current influenza epidemic."
She then outlines that her family arrived into hospital this morning expecting her son's surgery to go ahead, but unfortunately they were turned away for the eight time.
"The picture [above] was taken this morning when Tommy was told he’s next surgery (mirtal valve repair/replacement due to take place tomorrow morning) was cancelled again, for the 8th time.
"We were given this horrific news when we arrived at Our Lady’s Hospital for sick Children Crumlin, from Wexford at 8 AM this morning. He had already had his blood work done today and surgery was yet again scheduled for tomorrow morning.
"These cancellations have all been due to the bed shortage at the hospital, emergencies and the general understaffing of cardiothoracic surgical teams. Do I need to wait until my son is rushed into hospital in a life threatening emergency for him to be treated?" she asked.
"At this stage we are desperate. We are hard working, tax paying citizens. We have to take time off work each time he is due for surgery."
Nóirín then goes on to describe her little boy, saying that he loves being with his friends, but unfortunately he hasn't even been able to see them lately.
"Tommy is a very happy boy who lights up every room he walks into, he doesn’t want for much. Although he has been through more than he’s fair share in his 7 years, he never complains and smiles he’s way through life, but like every 7 year old boy, he wants to be able to play football and go back to school to be with his friends. These basic rights are being denied to him due to the reasons stated above. Nobody else can help in this situation only you and your team."
"This morning my 7 year old asked my husband and I, 'why did you say again I could have my surgery and now I can’t', '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 7 year old boy?"
The mum goes on to say that everyone working in the hospital is kind and highly skilled, however they need just as much help as her family does.
"The nursing and medical staff at Crumlin Children’s Hospital are wonderful, caring and highly skilled people who really are working very hard under extreme pressure. They need your support and your help, as do we.
"As a mother I am now desperate and I beg you to help.
"This is my boy, my hero, my Tommy.
"Simon Harris please make the changes necessary to save children's lives in this country.
"The people of Ireland."
Nóirín also outlines in her letter that she set up Wexford Friends of Crumlin Children’s Hospital Charity when her son was first born and to date has raised €195,198.
If you want to read her letter in full, or find out more information about her petition, visit here.