Nov 24 2006
By Joshua Layton firstname.lastname@example.org
PARENTS of a girl with a rare latex allergy are considering whether to take legal action after she was again refused treatment at Mayday Hospital.
Stephen and Janet Wood’s disabled daughter Joanna, 14, has now been turned away from Mayday’s A&E department three times.
Hospital bosses claim her medical needs mean she cannot be treated on an open ward, so if a cubicle is not available the family has to make a six-mile trip to St George’s, in Tooting.
Mr Wood, 46, a Home Office worker, said: “On the past three occasions when we’ve gone to Mayday they’ve said they haven’t got a cubicle, or a nurse to go in the cubicle.
“But a latex allergy is similar to a nut allergy and is not that hard to manage.
“St George’s doesn’t have this policy and I don’t know of any other hospital that does. It’s discrimination against Jo.”
Jo developed a neurological condition called hydrocephalus as a baby and was left severely brain damaged after she suffered a seizure at the age of three.
She was diagnosed with the latex allergy, which could trigger a potentially fatal allergic reaction, when she was four.
It means Jo, who attends Rutherford School, in South Croydon, has to go to hospital for minor conditions as a precaution.
Mrs Wood, 42, a care worker, said: “We are doing our best to cope, but this is making it so much harder.
“What we want is for Mayday to change its policy, and we are considering legal action.”
The last time Jo was turned away was on November 13. She was sent to St George’s to be treated for a chest infection.
The couple,of Horton Way, Shirley, have made an official complaint to Mayday, which is investigating the matter.
A hospital spokeswoman, referring to the November 13 incident, said: “Because of Joanna’s complex medical needs, which include a latex allergy, our current guidance states she should be treated in a cubicle,but unfortunately at that time none was available on the ward.
“To ensure her safety, a decision was made to transfer her to a children’s ward at St George’s and she was taken there by an ambulance accompanied by a nurse.
“We appreciate that it is much easier for the family if Joanna can be treated locally.
“We have apologised for any dis-tress the incident caused her and her family while trying to ensure she gets the best possible care.
The spokeswoman added that, as a district general hospital, Mayday sometimes had to transfer patients to other hospitals where they could be given more specialist care.