Toddler left waiting years for specialist scoliosis appointment

The two-year-old's father told Pat Kenny about the pain his son endures on a daily basis

Toddler left waiting years for specialist scoliosis appointment

Pictured is Noah Doyle

A two-year-old boy from County Louth who suffers from a range of debilitating medical difficulties has been waiting more than two years to see a scoliosis specialist.

Noah Doyle was diagnosed with the spinal disorder on the day he was born, but is still waiting for an appointment – and his family have no idea when he might be granted one.

While there is no known cause for most cases of the condition, it can occur due to congenital, developmental or degenerative problems.

On The Pat Kenny Show this Morning, Noah’s father Adam Doyle said the multiple health challenges his son is facing require 24-hour medical care.

Noah’s scoliosis was classed as severe when he was eight months old and as the disorder progressed, he has been dealing with daily episodes of unbearable pain.

“It is not a permanent thing but he will have episodes during the day which for whatever reason - be it that he moves slightly in one direction and it nips something - he just screams uncontrollably,” said Mr Doyle.

“It is as if somebody has stuck a knife into him; that is the only way I can describe it.”

Infantile scoliosis specialist

He said the family are not appealing for expensive drugs or treatments – just an appointment with an infantile scoliosis specialist and an updated MRI scan. 

He said the hospital has consistently told him that Noah is on an appointment list - but has been unable to give him any indication as to when that might happen.

He said doctors and nurses who witness one of Noah’s seizures often become quite panicked – yet more than 800 days after his original diagnosis he has yet to see a specialist.

“They are quite taken aback when they see him again, ask about his scoliosis and realise he hasn’t yet been seen," he said.

“All I have been told – and I appreciate it is not the person on the end of the phone’s fault – but all you are told is that he currently is on a list, he doesn’t have an appointment and each time, including up until last week they can give me no indication as to when an appointment will become available."

International best practice

Last month the Ombudsman for Children warned that children with scoliosis should not have to wait more than four months for treatment.

The government has committed to meeting the target by the end of the year – with international best practice calling for children with scoliosis to be operated on within three to six months.

A new scoliosis operating theatre opened in Crumlin Hospital two weeks ago - yet due to funding and staff shortages, it is only open one day a week.

Mr Doyle said he had written to a number of TD’s about Noah’s situation.

“We fully understand and appreciate that healthcare maybe isn’t overly easy and that there is no such thing as a perfect system,” said Mr Doyle.

“We are not looking for a situation where it is easy to look after Noah or you know, life is a breeze - but just that it can be possible for us to look after him and at the moment that just doesn’t seem to be.”

It is not the first time the family has appealed to TD's for help. In January 2016, Mr Doyle penned an open letter to then Minster for Health Leo Varadkar about the difficulties his son was facing.

A chance for life

He said despite all of Noah’s difficulties, with the right treatments there is still a chance for him to live his life.

“He certainly will develop and has developed much more slowly than other kids but at the same time, I am conscious that we keep talking about all of these problems,” he said.

“Noah will smile at you, he giggles at you, he makes funny noises, he loves music, and he loves Mickey Mouse on TV.

“There certainly is a prospect there for him to have a life and I guess as parents all we want is that he has as much happiness and as pain free an existence as he can have.”

You can listen back to Adam Doyle’s full conversation with Pat Kenny here: