Shropshire Star

'That isn’t emergency care': Family's worst nightmare repeats itself as baby girl falls ill again

Shropshire NHS campaigner Darren Childs has had his worst nightmare repeat itself this week - when his daughter fell ill and faced long waits for vital care.

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Darren Childs and his family,

Darren and Cally Childs' one year old daughter, Myla, hit the headlines in January when she stopped breathing during a prolonged seizure and had to wait 37 minutes for a ambulance.

Their experience began Mr Child's non-stop campaigning for better NHS funding.

The nightmare happened again on Tuesday, with a 30-minute wait for paramedics and being told of a 10-hour wait in A&E.

Bosses at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital apologised to all patients experiencing long waits for treatment.

They say children are usually given priority and have asked anyone with concerns to contact the Patients Advice and Liaison Service team.

Mr Childs, from Ludlow, said: "We were in Bridgnorth when at 11.45am Myla started fitting again – just like she did in January. She went grey and her lips went blue. It was clear she was struggling to breathe.

"That first seizure only lasted about two minutes – but then as soon as it stopped, she started to have more seizures, called a cluster seizure.

"We rang 999 straight way. Of course we did. Your child’s life is at risk and you want the experts there straight away to put things right.

"But knowing the ambulance service couldn’t guarantee a fast response we decided to take Myla to Bridgnorth Hospital because at least there was a good chance that there’d be someone there who could give her oxygen and try and get her stabilised.

"We drove to Bridgnorth Hospital where the staff were amazing. They did everything they could, but they couldn’t get Myla’s oxygen levels back up and stabilised.

"It took half an hour for that ambulance to arrive. That feels like a lifetime when you’re watching your child struggling to breathe."

When they arrived at A&E Mr Childs said there were 11 ambulances parked outside.

"I knew that was really bad news. That meant an A&E that was full, stretched to breaking point – or worse than that," he said.

"Myla was seen by a triage nurse in A&E. The nurse told us it would take around 10 hours before Myla could even see a doctor. That isn’t emergency care.

"Myla got lucky. While we waited, her oxygen levels gradually stabilised and returned to normal. She wasn’t right – but it began to feel that the immediate life-threatening episode was over.

"We rang our GP back home in Ludlow, and we were promised an immediate appointment. That felt less of a risk than waiting hour after hour at the hospital. We drove Myla back to Ludlow and saw our GP. Myla’s now back home, on antibiotics, and she’s OK."

"But myself and my wife Cally isn’t OK. We’re scared."

"We’ve got an NHS that has been underfunded and understaffed for years. We need emergency action now. I'm frightened for Myla, and I’m frightened for all of us."

Hayley Flavell, director of nursing at The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, said: “Our urgent and emergency care services remain under significant pressure, and we apologise to patients who are experiencing long waits for treatment.

"Our staff are working incredibly hard to ensure that our most clinically urgent patients are prioritised and that any children who present in our emergency departments are seen as quickly as possible.

"If anyone has any concerns about the care they receive, we would ask them to please contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service team or myself directly.”

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