Mother fears treatment canceled during pandemic could disable child

An English mother fears her young daughter could be wheelchair-bound for the rest of her life because doctors can’t diagnose it – as many hospital appointments were canceled because of COVID-19.

Rachael Swadling, 25, was induced in labor at 28 weeks after she was diagnosed with a serious heart condition during her pregnancy with daughter Hailey Spree in 2019.

Hours after she was born on March 19, 2019, the baby underwent an operation at King’s College Hospital in London, UK to correct the malformation of the artery.

Young Hailey Spree is pictured in an undated photograph. Hailey could be wheelchair-bound for life because doctors can’t diagnose after several of her hospital appointments were canceled due to COVID.
SWNS / Zenger / Steve Chatterley

But a month after being discharged, swaddling from Gillingham, Kent in the UK took Spree to Medway Maritime Hospital with difficulty breathing.

It turned out that Spree had a bad chest infection.

It has since been discovered that the baby has congenital muscular dystrophy, a genetic condition that affects muscle strength and tone.

She also had other ailments such as toe deformities and ankle weakness, which means they can turn inward and cause injuries.

From April 2019 to April 2020, Spree went through several chest infections, conjunctivitis, and ear infections that required antibiotics.

Some infections required further intervention by Medway, sometimes resulting in hospitalization.

In August 2020, Swaddling said that an appointment at London’s Evelina Children’s Hospital had been canceled due to the pandemic.

Baby
Young Hailey Spree and mom Rachel Swadling are shown in a photo without a date. From April 2019 to April 2020, Spree went through several chest infections, conjunctivitis, and ear infections that required antibiotics.
SWNS / Zenger / Steve Chatterley

She explained: “We were supposed to see Evelina Hospital to check on her heart.

“But due to COVID it was canceled – along with several other appointments which were then made in telephone or Zoom consultations.

“I tried to explain that it wouldn’t be enough for her to see how hard she finds things on screen. Sitting and talking, she’s fine, so she thinks there was no problem.”

Alarm bells rang after Spree fell in March last year and swaddling saw her experience loss of head and neck control.

She said: “At first, Hailey was able to get into a crawling position with her head flopped, she was able to stand holding one hand, able to do a few steps independently.

“But around 18 months of age, Hailey’s mobility began to deteriorate and she was less able to move.”

She said they weren’t able to make a face-to-face appointment at Evelina Hospital until after Spree’s second birthday.

She was given a frame to walk on to aid her mobility.

Till then she had no reason to think anything wrong, said the worried mother.

But by July, Swaddling saw her condition worsening as she struggled to bend her knees and keep her ankles from breaking.

She said: “She started off beautifully, but now I could see she was going backwards instead of forwards. I was tearing my hair out.”

“I was begging someone to see my little girl. I was pleading with the doctors that she needed help.”

Swaddling said that after “getting no help from Evelina”, she took the girl through her general practitioner to the Snapdragon Children’s Center in nearby Strode.

Snapdragon was able to get her treatment from a physiotherapist, and she uses a hydrotherapy pool to relax her muscles.

Swaddling said: “They’ve been amazing at snapdragons. They were the first to tell me my daughter was disabled and helped us find more suitable housing.”

But she still wonders what would have happened if she could get treatment early.

Referring to Evelina’s treatment of her daughter, Swadling said: “I was disgusted by the way I was being sacked.

“These weren’t regular check-ups like you normally do after having a baby, but were important appointments as far as I’m concerned.

“There is no doubt that if my daughter had been seen early, we would not have been in this situation.

“In his latest list, he has 10 conditions and it keeps growing.

“This is my daughter we’re talking about and I want answers. I don’t want big words thrown at me that I have to research and Google for which can be scary.

“I think the NHS has let us down. Who knows if they had seen Hailey earlier she would not have been in the position she is now?

Baby
Young Hailey Spree is pictured in an undated photograph. Swaddling said Hailey’s mobility began to deteriorate around 18 months of age.
SWNS / Zenger / Steve Chatterley

“And we still don’t know what’s wrong with that. It’s breaking my heart.”

Swaddling is now in the process of drafting a formal complaint.

She said: “I believe it was very important that those appointments should have been placed at what could prove to be a crucial time.

“Hailey is now unable to bear weight and her toe deformity is still an issue as well as her ankle strength.

“One doctor Hailey had seen was that she worried that she might twist her hips with her ankles.

“I don’t know to this day whether Hailey might have to spend the rest of her life in a wheelchair. Right now I’m her arms and legs.

“My poor girl spends most of her time lying on the floor as she struggles to sit alone for long periods of time.

“It’s all very difficult for us as a family.”

She continued: “Other parents may be grappling with the same thing in complete silence.”

A spokesperson for Evelina Hospital said: “We are deeply sorry for the delay in Hailey’s first appointment which was due to the pressure of COVID-19. She has now been thoroughly reviewed and we are working to manage her condition.” Will work with his family in the best possible way.”

produced in collaboration with SWNS,

This story was provided to Newsweek zengar news,

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