Teenage boy with ‘horrendous’ cough unable to see doctor due to ‘no appointments’

A worried family has put out a plea for help because their son with a “horrendous” cough is unable to see an NHS specialist due to there being “no appointments available”.

Jack Christmas, aged 13, was diagnosed with Mowat Wilson Syndrome when his concerned parents noticed that he was not hitting his milestones at six-months-old. His illness means that Jack relies on the care of adults all the time, due to having seizures, needing assistance with eating and the toilet, and using a wheelchair.

In the New Year, Jack, from Hull, contracted Covid-19 and, initially, seemed to cope well. However, after a couple weeks, he developed chest infection-like symptoms and a horrendous cough. At night, Jack’s parents are alerted to his constant coughing through a monitor that they have, and often need to assist Jack in bringing up thick mucus that causes him to almost choke, Hull Live reports.

Jack’s mother, Dawn Christmas, contacted the GP in January when it was evident that Jack was struggling and repeatedly waking up at night. She said: “Since contacting the GP, Jack has tried about seven different types of medication to treat the cough but nothing has worked so far.

“The GP told us there was nothing more they could do and referred us to a specialist in March. At the end of May, we received a letter telling us that there were no specialist appointments available and by this point, Jack had already undergone a chest X-ray which told us his lungs were hyperinflated.

“I contacted Spire Hull about taking him on as a private patient but they informed me that they don’t have paediatric respiratory specialists, so we will have to take him to Spire Leeds. The Leeds team agreed to fit him in for an appointment on July 21, which is still a long time to wait.”

Jack developed symptoms similar to a chest infection back in January and still hasn't received effective treatment
Jack developed symptoms similar to a chest infection back in January and still hasn’t received effective treatment

Jack is booked in for an early morning appointment, meaning the family will likely have to pay hotel and travel costs, as well as the hefty fees that come with private medical care. For just a consultation, the family has paid £200 and this does not include the cost of any tests, investigations, or treatment during the appointment.

Dawn continued: “I just didn’t know what else to do. I would do anything if it meant that my son didn’t have to suffer – even sell my house.

“We have tried all sorts and have seen Jack endure a few truly horrendous nights. Throughout it all, he is still the most happy and smiley boy but we can see he is just so tired.

“It has been hard on the family to deal with Jack’s condition, especially looking after him as his body changes, because he is getting so tall! The key to it all is working as a team with his dad and brother, as well as many of our amazing friends.

“I am very lucky as I have been working full-time as a teacher at a school for 18/19 years and they are nothing but understanding and supportive of when I need to take time to take Jack to appointments. Unfortunately, my husband will have to take unpaid leave for when we go to Leeds, which puts us in a difficult financial situation again.

“We had the idea to set up a GoFundMe from a friend, when we realised all of the days off, travel costs and private medical bills we would be hit with. We know that it is a tough time for everyone right now so only if you can spare something.”

To donate to the Jack Christmas fund, you can find the family’s GoFundMe page here.

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