Nóirín Kinsella penned a heartbreaking open letter to Health Minister Simon Harris after her 7-year-old son's heart surgery was delayed for the eighth time
Irish mother Nóirín Kinsella has penned an open letter to Ireland’s Health Minister Simon Harris pleading for help as her young son Tommy’s scheduled heart operation was canceled this week for the eighth time.
Kinsella’s letter, which she shared in a public Facebook post on January 7 that has since gone viral, explains that her 7-year-old son Tommy was born with a congenital heart defect that requires special care and leaves him at high risk for infection.
In just under three days, her heartbreaking post was shared more than 36k times.
Dear Simon Harris TD My name is Nóirín Kinsella and in this picture is my son Tommy and husband Gary. Tommy was born...Publiée par Noirin Kinsella sur Mardi 7 janvier 2020
Kinsella wrote: “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.
“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 Hospital, which is virtually in a state of shut down due to the current influenza epidemic.
“The picture below was taken this morning [January 7] 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?
“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.
“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 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.
“Our family set up Wexford Friends of Crumlin Children’s Hospital Charity 7 years ago and to date have raised €195,198 to date. We have provided by fundraising for this hospital where our government has failed.
“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 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.”
In the wake of her open letter, an online petition began to circulate, but it has since been closed. Nóirín said in a separate Facebook post that the petition was allegedly asking for donations, but Nóirín insists that the family is not seeking monetary help.
Responding to Nóirín's letter, Children’s Health Ireland said in a statement: “CHI is very cognizant 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 prioritize emergency cases.
"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 endeavor to reschedule the case as soon as possible."
Tommy Kinsella’s surgery has been rescheduled to January 15, but his mother told The Independent that it has been rescheduled every week since November.