They were told to expect a letter in December with a surgery date.
‘We’re still waiting,’ says Jennifer, mum to four year old Lewis who has been waiting 2 years for a surgery to fix his dislocated hip. The Kilcoole boy’s story has appeared in the ‘Wicklow People’, ‘Bray People’ and his parents have spoken on Joe Duffy’s ‘Liveline’ to bring awareness to the issue, but still, nothing is done about this young boy in pain for the last two years.
Born with spina bifida, Lewis was promised a surgery back in 2019 to fix his dislocated hip, but his mum Jennifer describes how that fell through and since then, they’ve been given ‘the run around’ with cancellation and empty promises.
‘We just want our boy to be comfortable and not be in pain,’ she shared. ‘He doesn’t sleep properly due to his hip as he can never get comfortable.’
While we are in a pandemic and certain people, like the Enable Ireland team and the nursing staff at Temple street have been fantastic in providing support and advocating on Lewis’ behalf, there has still been no update about a surgery that should have happened months ago.
‘We were told Lewis would be first priority and would get surgery in January 2021.’ Said Jennifer. ‘We were told we would get a letter in the door around Christmas time 2020 for a date for hip surgery. We never received that letter and we are still waiting.’
Now, in almost April 2021, there is still no sign of any date or letter forthcoming. Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly’s spokesman has said that they don’t comment on individual cases, but that the constituency office is available to help with queries and cases. ‘Any contacts made to our office are dealt with sensitively and with the strictest of confidence.’
Lewis’s legs are two different lengths. Surgery for him would mean so much more than just easing of considerable pain for a four-year-old. It would mean more independence and the chance to be back on track where he belongs. Now aged four, Lewis should have started playschool back in 2019, but due to these health reasons, that didn’t happen. This coming September is when he should be starting primary school and due to the delays in his healthcare, this is also another milestone that will be missed.
Lewis also developed a sever pressure sore on his lower back that became so bad, it began to show his tailbone. As Lewis can’t crawl, when he wants to play with his three sisters, he has to shuffle around on the floor after them. His parents were told by a plastic surgeon that all they could do about the sore was to keep him off the floor until it was healed.
And while the Enable Ireland team and particularly Lewis’s physio have reportedly been fantastic sources of support, there is only so much that can be done before surgery is utterly necessary. His physio says that surgery will allow Lewis’s legs to bear weight and use a walker, but until then, he must use a wheelchair.
‘When Lewis was born, we were told he was going to die,’ Jennifer told press. ‘He’s better now than we ever thought he would be. He is such a good boy. If you could see what he can do with a dislocated hip you can only imagine what he could do without it. We want him to be more independent and fulfil his potential. I think it’s a disgrace we’ve been getting excuse after excuse. If I or my husband had a dislocated hip it would be dealt with, so why not for Lewis? Just because he has spina bifida?’