Mr B (anonymised) complained that his son (“C”) had suffered an unnecessary wait which had a serious impact on C’s quality of life. During that time C suffered serious frequent infections, which required antibiotic treatment, and an open wound on his side needed to be dressed three times a week.
C was first admitted to Glangwili General Hospital in Carmarthen in June 2014 suffering from an abdominal abscess. The abscess was drained but an MRI scan revealed a superinfected left kidney. In early July a specialist kidney scan revealed his left kidney had no function. After a referral to the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff, he finally underwent surgery in May 2017.
The Ombudsman found that this delay was unacceptable. C’s condition was not regularly reviewed and the impact of the condition on C’s life was not considered. The University Hospital of Wales did not tell the referring hospital that it could not meet Welsh Government treatment targets in this case, denying the opportunity for alternatives to be considered.
C said that he felt “his life has been on hold” waiting for the operation and that he had been unable to enjoy doing things with his friends like playing football or going swimming, and he could not join army cadets because he could not do any contact activities.
C told the Ombudsman’s investigator that he would constantly ask his parents when he would get his operation only to be told they did not know which made him very upset. His parents said they would be strong for C but when he went to bed they would cry knowing they could not help him.
Hywel Dda and Cardiff and Vale University Health Boards have both agreed to apologise for the failings identified by the Ombudsman investigation and agreed to a set of recommendations.
Commenting on the report, Nick Bennett, Public Services Ombudsman for Wales, said:
“This is a shocking series of events where an 11-year-old child was unable to thrive for almost three years because of totally unacceptable delays.
“It has clearly been a dreadful experience for this young boy and his family and it is likely his human rights have been compromised due to the impact on both his physical and mental wellbeing, and the extent of suffering he has endured.
“I have set out clear recommendations that both Health Boards have agreed to implement, and my office will be following these up to ensure action is taken and the same mistakes are not repeated.”