Coronavirus: 'Do not delay seeking treatment for injured or unwell children'

By David Shanks
BBC Scotland reporter

  • Published
Jillian Duffy and her son Ronan
Image caption,
Jillian Duffy took her son Ronan to hospital after he hit his head

Parents in Scotland are being urged to seek help for youngsters who are injured or unwell despite worries they may have about the coronavirus crisis.

The Royal College of Paediatricians and Child Health said it had received reports of children who have become unwell and even died because they were not seen early enough by doctors.

Clinicians are now calling on parents not to delay seeking medical help.

And one mother told BBC Scotland News: "Please don't hesitate."

Jillian Duffy, of Cambuslang, said nine-year-old Ronan fell down the stairs and hit his head.

She said: "We knew straight away he wasn't himself. He was confused, crying, wanting to go to sleep, he just wasn't Ronan at all.

"To be honest with you, we didn't know what to do initially. With coronavirus, you've heard all the adverts about not going to A&E and not accessing the NHS if you didn't have to."

Mrs Duffy said they briefly debated what to do, but he was getting "progressively worse", so they phoned 111.

'Did the right thing'

"The nurse said he wanted us to be at the hospital, he said we have to get Ronan seen, and that's exactly what we did," she said: "We put him straight in the car and drove him straight to the sick children's hospital in Glasgow."

Ronan's mother explained: "It was a bit scary. As we got out of the car, Ronan was vomiting yet again. His dad and I were trying to hold him up, he's being sick all over the place.

"A nurse flew out of the door in the full PPE. Ronan was unaware, he didn't know where he was or what was happening to him, because he was so concussed."

He ended up staying overnight due to the need for a CT scan, and has now recovered.

Mrs Duffy added: "As a parent, you know your child and when your child needs medical help - please don't hesitate.

"We did the right thing, and any parent knows their child, if you think your child needs medical help, please phone 111."

Prof Steve Turner, officer for Scotland for the Royal College of Paediatricians and Child Health (RCPCH), said: "We've recently heard reports of a small but worrying number of cases where children may have become very unwell or even died because they weren't seen early enough.

"There could be a number of reasons for this and we're trying to find out more but our message parents is clear: if your child is very unwell, please don't delay, we want to see them - we don't want parents to wait or to worry."

At Royal Aberdeen Children's Hospital (RACH), consultant paediatrician and unit clinical director for child health Marianne Cochrane said it was important people knew who to turn to in the current climate.

She said: "While we are very grateful to the public for their responsible use of the NHS at this time, we want to reassure parents everywhere that we are still here for you if your child becomes ill with non-Covid-19 symptoms.

"Do not delay seeking medical advice. If you need to come into our emergency departments, there are clear streams for those patients with possible Covid-19 symptoms and those who are otherwise unwell in order to keep these groups separate and minimise risk to all."

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