Six weeks without physiotherapy and a two-year wait for an MRI: Wicklow boy Callum (5) forced to take painkillers as treatment cancelled due to pandemic
A five-year-old Wicklow boy is being treated with painkillers because his physiotherapy has been cancelled for the past six weeks due to Covid-19.
On top of that, Callum Watson is on a two-year waiting list for an MRI scan he needs to tackle the painful juvenile arthritis h e suffers from.
Callum’s plight was raised by Fianna Fáil’s Health spokesperson Stephen Donnelly in the Dail who asked Health Minister Simon Harris if diagnostic equipment in private hospitals can be used for an MRI scan that the young boy needs.
Callum has Down Syndrome and his mother Gillian Pitt told Deputy Donnelly that Callum only started walking in 2019 and was referred to the Rheumatology Department in Crumlin Hospital.
She said that Callum is in pain but is pre-verbal so can’t explain where it is.
His doctors need to get an MRI scan done so they can limit the damage caused to his body but it’s not scheduled until next year, “two years from when his doctors said he needed it”.
Callum’s arthritis recently flared up and he can’t walk as much anymore.
Doctors in Crumlin are to start treatment without the MRI.
He also needs physiotherapy twice-a-week but has not had any for six weeks.
Mr Donnelly asked Mr Harris if the “largely empty” private hospitals with diagnostic suites could be used to provide scans to children like Callum.
Mr Harris said that the issues raised by Mr Donnelly are “very important” and are linked to how non-coronavirus care is provided.
Mr Donnelly has called for the targeted resumption of community-based care, included physiotherapy, for urgent patients such as Callum.
He has also called for the resources of the 19 private hospitals, which the State is currently paying for, to be deployed to get Callum, and children like him, the diagnostics and other treatment they need.