Mum’s anger after autistic son refused operation at Chesterfield hospital despite having two Covid tests

A frustrated mum has told how her autistic son was refused a planned operation at Chesterfield hospital – despite taking two Covid tests prior to the procedure as requested.

Monday, 28th June 2021, 12:33 pm

Nine-year-old Thomas James, from Brampton, suffers with persistent nosebleeds and had been due to have a routine cauterization on Monday, June 21, after a two-year wait.

As per national NHS guidance, the youngster – who has autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and sensory issues – was booked in for a Covid test at Chesterfield Royal Hospital on June 15 and, after a inconclusive result, had another the next day.

Despite this, Thomas was later refused his operation after being told he needed a third Covid test – something which had already left him traumatised.

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Chesterfield Royal Hospital.
Chesterfield Royal Hospital.

His mum Hannah Wonfor, 33, said: “Routine is a big thing for Thomas. I had prepared him for the last three weeks up until June 15 as that’s when Nightingale Ward had booked him in for the Covid test.

"He was fine but it came back inconclusive so they phoned me again on Wednesday morning to go back up.

"He was grumpy but he did it and they really hurt him. He was distraught all day, crying and complaining his nose was hurting. But when that came back negative on Friday I thought great.

"Then at around 4.20pm that day I got a call asking why I hadn’t taken my son for a Covid test. I explained I had and that he’d had two that week.

“They then stated he needed a test 72 hours prior to his operation – there was no way Thomas would have had that done again.”

Hannah says Thomas had previously tested negative and had isolated prior to his operation but she was told ‘this wasn’t good enough’.

The youngster was then refused admittance onto the Nightingale Ward, meaning he could no longer have his operation and is now awaiting a rescheduled date.

“The nurse on Nightingale knew my son had an operation on June 21 and still booked him in for a test on June 15 so it’s their fault,” Hannah added.

“I just think that he’s been let down and they’ve discriminated him. I get that they’re under a lot of pressure but they’ve still got to care for those who need it.”

A Chesterfield hospital spokesperson said: “We always strive to provide exceptional care and put the patient at the centre of everything we do, so it is a concern to us when a patient, relative or carer feels we have fallen short of this standard.

"For our younger patients we aim to work with parents to understand their child’s very specific needs and personalities. This includes developing of a range of resources, play equipment and interactive devices to help children with autism cope with the experience of being in or coming into hospital.

“We are sorry that Hannah, as the parent of a child with Autism, has felt let down by us in that regard. We always look to learn and improve so would welcome the opportunity for our clinical team to talk to Hannah and Thomas about their recent experience.

"We would urge them to give our PALS team a call on 01246 512640 to enable us to have that conversation together soon.”

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