A child may be forced to “wait years” for treatment to allow him to walk again because he “is too ticklish.”
Conor Stapleton has the rare condition where his feet point almost perpendicular to the ground at all times.
This leaves the 22-month-old boy unable to walk properly.
Worried mum Jade Hatton first spotted the problem when Conor was around 10 weeks old, the Manchester Evening News reported.
She said health visitors told her to monitor his mobility on two occasions, but in the nearly two years since she claims his condition has only gotten more serious, leaving him unable to walk or even put on shoes.
Jade, from Hyde in Greater Manchester, said: “[Doctors] he checked it when he was born, but he didn’t say anything.
“But when he was 10 weeks old, I realized something was wrong with his feet.
“I told the health visitor that my feet were pointy, the visitor said I was fine.
“When he was nine months old, they asked me why he didn’t try to walk or stand against things to bend down and pick things up.
“I said it was because of his feet. They said ‘wait until he’s a year old’, then ‘wait until he’s 18 months’.”
Growing concerned, the 28-year-old mother took her son to her GP.
They confirmed that Conor suffered from strained tendons, meaning he can only stand on his toes for a short period of time.
After being referred to one hospital, the mother says she had to “wait months for an appointment” to see a specialist at a second hospital.
She added: “Then in June of last year I went to the doctor again who said I had tight tendons, it took them ages to get me an appointment.
“I went to Tameside Hospital where the doctor said my tendons were tight, then I had to wait two or three months for an appointment at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital.”
When Jade and Conor finally got to the doctor who was going to put her feet in casts to start correcting her position, they told the family she was “too ticklish,” Jade says.
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Now, she says she has been referred back to Tameside, leaving her confused.
Jade continued, “I went on January 11, I took him in. [doctor] sat up, touched his feet and said ‘he’s too ticklish, to make my job easier I’m not going to put him in a cast today, I’m going to wait until he’s older and knows why he’s doing it’.
“Those were the actual words of the doctor. That appointment was specifically to get his casts put on because he can’t wear shoes, it’s hard to get his socks on. He can’t do anything at all.”
Not only are Conor’s pointy feet causing him trouble learning to walk, there are other huge developmental impacts, the mother adds.
“It’s made him extremely sticky to me,” Jade said.
“Even when I take him to playgroups, he doesn’t go near other kids and they don’t go near him because he crawls.
“So you can’t interact or play with them.
“When he’s standing up against the couch, he drops down and hurts his leg or hits his head. She learned to walk on her knees and they are bruising.
“He just stays home most of the time, playing with his cars or reading his books because that’s all he can do.
“I wanted to take him to daycare, but he won’t be able to do the things kids his age do because they go out to play or walk in the woods. He would have to be in a stroller.
“And now he’s so stressed and upset because he can’t move, he’s starting to have mood swings.
“If he wants to get on something and I don’t have time to pick him up right away, he’ll scream because he still can’t get up on his own because of his feet.”
The mother has lodged a complaint with the NHS Patient Liaison and Advice Service (PALS), but says she fears it will be “years” before Conor receives his casts, as delays in treatment across the health system health continue. of the pandemic.
“I feel like screaming because I have been saying this since I was 10 weeks old. I think people feel like it’s no big deal because he’s not theirs, they don’t have to deal with him being stressed and upset.
“I called PALS to complain and they said they wanted a doctor to look at her feet a third time,” she says.
“The PALS staff member told me if I don’t hear back in a week, to let them know. It’s been about two and a half weeks and I haven’t heard back.
“It just feels like you’re not being heard. He really needs casts to help him because his feet are so pointy.
“My friend’s children, who are even smaller than him, who walk, he can’t do any of that. He makes a knot in my chest because he can’t walk, he can’t play.
“I’ve been trying my hardest since I was 10 weeks and I don’t know what to do anymore, I’m stuck.”
Adding to her anxiety, Jade is pregnant again and can’t keep carrying Conor to carry him like she used to.
“I’m also 20 weeks pregnant,” says Jade.
“I can’t keep carrying it if it needs to go somewhere, it’s putting pressure on my stomach and my back lifting it up. I’ve had miscarriages in the past.”
“But he can’t have a regular bed, he needs a cot that I have to get him out of, because he could roll over and not be able to get up again. My partner works nights, so I’m usually there.”
“It’s like a baby that’s as heavy as a toddler. I feel like I’m alone.”
A spokesman for the University of Manchester Foundation, which runs the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, said: “Conor’s mum has contacted our Patient Advice and Liaison Service and they will discuss his referrals and treatment with her directly. .
Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust Fountain declined to comment.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.