Toddler rushed to hospital 32 times forced to wait over a year for NHS windpipe surgery

2 May 2023, 06:13 | Updated: 2 May 2023, 18:53

NHS apologises after toddler who stops breathing waits a year for urgent windpipe surgery
NHS apologises after toddler who stops breathing waits a year for urgent windpipe surgery. Picture: Alamy
Alan Zycinski

By Alan Zycinski

A toddler who stops breathing and has been rushed in seven 'code red' ambulances to hospital has been waiting a year for urgent NHS windpipe surgery.

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Three-year-old Tyler has been raced to the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow about 30 times since he was born - by paramedics or his parents.

There's also been more than a dozen other occasions where he's had to be given steroids to help clear his airways.

Tyler's suffered breathing difficulties since birth and has been diagnosed with Laryngomalacia - also known as a "floppy voice box".

That means folds in his windpipe fall inwards leaving a smaller opening for air to pass through - which gets worse during flare-ups.

He has now been on a waiting list for surgery recommended by an ear, nose and throat consultant for at least 12 months.

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Dad Dean told LBC his son clearly needs emergency treatment: "In May 2020, just over a month after he was discharged from hospital after birth - he actually stopped breathing and had to be taken up to hospital in an ambulance.

"We've had him up at hospital so many times since. Times when he's hardly been breathing. Seven ambulances he's had.

"Tyler is on a "code red" they call it and that means an ambulance is with him in seven minutes. It's that serious with him.

"My partner keeps saying 'I feel like I'm just going to wake up and he's not going to be breathing anymore. That's him gone'.

"For the first year it was extremely scary but we've become so used it - and that shouldn't be the case.

"We shouldn't have to get used to a life where your son is constantly having to get rushed up to hospital.

"I've got absolutely nothing bad whatsoever to say about the staff, they have always been so helpful - it's just the waiting times and the communication.

"And that's what annoys me, the fact the hospital's known about these things since he was born. But we're three years on now and we're still waiting for the surgery."

Since being contacted by LBC, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde's confirmed a clinical team is reviewing Tyler's case.

A spokesperson said: "We apologise to Tyler’s family for the delay in his treatment.

"Due to an unforeseen staff absence, an administrative delay occurred. We would stress that there are no issues surrounding capacity on the urgent surgery list.

"While we cannot go into individual patient case details, we can confirm the clinical team is reviewing the case and will follow up with the family to ensure this is progressed as quickly as possible."

Scottish Conservative shadow health secretary Dr Sandesh Gulhane MSP said: “This is an absolutely harrowing story and my thoughts are with Tyler and his family for all the suffering they have gone through ever since he was born.

“The fact that he has been waiting a year for crucial treatment is absolutely shocking. It should be a source of shame for SNP ministers – including Humza Yousaf – whose NHS Recovery Plan has completely failed to remobilise vital frontline services like this.

“Tyler’s predicament should be taken up as a matter of urgency by the now First Minister and his replacement as Health Secretary – Michael Matheson.

“The SNP must give health boards – and my dedicated colleagues on the frontline – every resource they need to guarantee Tyler won’t be waiting a moment longer for surgery.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We are concerned by the reported difficulties Tyler has had and are liaising with NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde to seek assurances. The Scottish Government is working closely with NHS Boards to maximise capacity and reduce the length of time people are waiting for appointments and treatment. This includes targets to address the backlog of planned care and delivery of our £1 billion NHS Recovery Plan.”

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