20 Donegal children waiting on Spina Bifida appointment

THE ongoing delay in appointments for 20 Donegal children who have been diagnosed with Spina Bifida has been branded as ‘pure negligence’ amid fears that children are deteriorating at a rapid rate.
Twenty children in Donegal who have been diagnosed with Spina Bifida and/or Hydrocephalus are currently waiting at least 18 months for an appointment, with some waiting up to four years.
There are currently five children who are waiting on immediate orthopaedic intervention and a further 15 who are waiting on consultant hospital appointments.
A lobby group has been set up to represent over 900 children throughout the country who are waiting over 18 months for a hospital appointment, and the issue has been highlighted by Councillor Niamh Kennedy who has called for the delays to be addressed immediately.
Cllr Kennedy was contacted by the mother of a 13-year-old child from Donegal who has only been seen once in the past 12 years.
She has called on Donegal County Council to write to the Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly to urgently fast track the children of this country who are diagnosed with the birth defect.
Spina Bifida can cause paralysis of the legs and is often accompanied by hydrocephalus, or water on the brain.
Speaking to the Donegal News, Cllr Kennedy said, “These delays are pure negligence on the behalf of the Department.
“This cannot be allowed to go on.
“Some of the children’s legs are so badly affected that the soles of their feet are permanently rubbing together which causes sores and bleeding.
“In Donegal, there are five children who are waiting on immediate intervention and a further 15 who are waiting after that.
“These children are in a severe state and they need immediate intervention,” said Cllr Kennedy.
Cllr Kennedy is also urging the Minister to ensure that the provision of services is made to Disabled Children within elective hospital settings as well as acute hospital settings to avoid a repeat of this situation in the future.
The Department have said the delays are as a result of Covid-19 and the HSE cyber attack.
The impact of the delay has been disastrous with some children losing their ability to walk and some of them who could walk previously are now in wheelchairs.
Cllr Kennedy continued, “Some children who are already in wheelchairs are now unable to turn the wheels and are being left effectively immobile and completely dependent on their carers.
“Some of these children were walking independently a couple of years ago but now they are dependent on a wheelchair because their condition has deteriorated.
“The delay on the appointments is causing such a strain on the families but also causing terrible affects on the children,” said Cllr Kennedy.

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