NHS delays mean another operation for Cohen

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A schoolboy from Northampton faces another gruelling operation after delays in NHS treatment meant a special hole he needs in his abdomen healed over.

Cohen O’Dell, aged eight, has had to wear nappies at school after the hole for a special catheter healed over while he waited more than three hours at Northampton General Hospital’s emergency department.

It followed attempts from 7.30am until 1pm to get GPs, paramedics or hospital doctors to reinsert the device which he wears because of his multiple disabilities.

His mum, Alice O’Dell, who is deaf, has complained to the hospital through the Deafconnect advocacy service.

Victoria Eley, a Deafconnect community advocacy worker, said: “The catheter came out of the hole while he was being bathed and needed to be put back in quickly by a trained health professional.

“NHS Direct could not suggest a solution and her GP only had an adult-sized catheter. However, when she arrived at A&E they were too busy and Alice feels they were unable to grasp the urgency of the situation because they could not communicate with her. They eventually told her at 1pm it was too late.”

Self-employed Alice will now have to take time off work to take Cohen for his operation in Oxford and more time off during his recovery.

Mr Eley said: “As a result of this slow service and poor understanding, Cohen now needs to have an unnecessary operation to have the catheter hole re-opened; understandably Cohen is distressed by this prospect as is Alice who will suffer emotional stress and financial. Cohen is now subject to embarrassment and feels ashamed that he is now back wearing nappies again like an infant.”

NGH said it was now investigating the complaint and would reply to Mrs O’Dell.

A spokesman for NGH said the day Cohen visited, its A&E was having one of its busiest-ever days.
He said: “Alice has made a formal complaint about Cohen’s treatment and we are now carrying out a full investigation into what went wrong.
“The department was extremely busy on that day and it is likely that this was the main factor behind any delay to Cohen’s treatment rather than any difficulty with communication. We apologise to Alice and Cohen for the delay.”