“why can’t I go play hurling and football mammy, please let me have my surgery so I can go play”
Wexford mum Noirin Kinsella has published an open letter to Ireland's Health Minister pleading for help as her son's surgery was cancelled for the eighth time.
In an emotional letter addressed to Simon Harris, Mrs Kinsella explains how at just 11 months old, her son who has a congenital heart defect had a complex atrioventricular septal defect repaired under open heart surgery in Our Lady’s Hospital For Sick Children, Crumlin.
At present the brave schoolboy is waiting on a mitral valve repair/replacement surgery and on Tuesday after making the drive from Wexford for his scheduled surgery, it was cancelled for the eighth time.
Tommy who is now seven can no longer go to school and wears a medical mask in public along with nasal medication in a bid to keep him safe from infection, she said.
In her post, the distraught mum said Tommy had been rushed to their local hospital three 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 Hospital, which is virtually in a state of shut down due to the current influenza epidemic."
"The picture below was taken this morning when Tommy was told his next surgery was cancelled again, for the 8th time."
Mrs Kinsella said the cancellations were due to the bed shortage at the hospital, emergencies and the general under staffing of cardiothoracic surgical teams. She continued
"Do I need to wait until my son is rushed into hospital in a life-threatening emergency for him to be treated?"
In a bid of desperation, Mrs Kinsella said her seven-year-old boy "is a very happy boy who lights up every room he walks into, he doesn’t want for much." She added: "Although he has been through more than his fair share in his 7 years, he never complains and smiles his 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." In recent years, the Kinsella's set up Wexford Friends of Crumlin Children’s Hospital Charity and to date have raised €195,198.
In a heartbreaking turn of events, their son asked his parents “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?" she said. She also praised the staff at Crumlin's Children Hospital. "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,” she pleaded. "This is my boy, my hero, my Tommy."
To date, the post has been shared over 35,000 times on Facebook and a brief look in the comments shows the parents of Ireland have her back with one saying: "Emotional outpouring from a caring mother. So highly charged and so shocking. The time is well past for a change of government. Simon Harris should be fired, along with a few more who are dithering around on a
Mrs Kinsella has set up a petition online calling for changes in the healthcare system. She wants no more cancelled life-saving operations or chemotherapy or other treatments and more resources to the staff of Crumlin hospital. You can sign the petition here.
Tommy's surgery is scheduled in Crumlin Children's Hospital for the ninth time next Wednesday, January 15th but who is to say it won't be cancelled yet again.