Parents' told baby 'too young' for op at Ipswich

PARENTS have spoken of their disgust at being told their baby could not be given an operation at Ipswich Hospital - because he is too young.

PARENTS have spoken of their disgust at being told their baby could not be given an operation at Ipswich Hospital - because he is too young.

Instead Rebecca Baxter and Owen Haggar were told their four-month-old son Curtis would have to go to Norwich, where anaesthetists and surgeons are trained to deal with children under a year old.

It meant the family had to be split up for two days as mum Miss Baxter, 30, stayed with Curtis while he had his operation for a hernia in his groin, but dad Mr Haggar, 35, had to travel back to Suffolk to be with their daughter Annabel, four.

Hospital officials though say the situation is not unusual - and operations on babies are sent to other centres.


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“It was an awful few days because we both wanted to be with Curtis and it was such a worrying time,” said Mr Haggar, of Crossgate Field, Felixstowe.

“At first we didn't know what was wrong with him, but when it was diagnosed as a hernia we knew it was not so serious and could be dealt with - but we were so surprised to be told we would have to go to Norwich for it to be fixed.

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“It's not a five minute journey and it meant we both couldn't stay - I went home to be with Annabel but I couldn't keep popping back to see how he was doing like I could if he had been at Ipswich Hospital.

“We are both disgusted really that Ipswich could not deal with our son.”

They took Curtis to Ipswich Hospital because he had a swollen testicle on Bank Holiday Monday May 25.

Mr Haggar, a warehouseman at Debach, said the hospital had offered transport to Norwich but rather than wait they decided to drive themselves. Curtis had keyhole surgery to repair the hernia.

Head of communications for the Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust, Jan Rowsell said anaesthetising and operating on babies is a highly specialised skill carried out in specialist centres at Norwich and Addenbrooke's.

Sending the child to Norwich would have been a clinical decision made in the best interests of the patient and for his safety.

Do you think Ipswich Hospital is being downgraded? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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