A father has slammed
Little Max, one, suffers from aplastic anaemia, a condition which means the bone marrow and stem cells do not produce enough blood cells unless it is treated.
Mum Rachel Nicholson, 27, was a near perfect match for doctors to eventually carry out a bone marrow transplant- the only cure available.
Dad Connor Gardner is unhappy at Covid rules which say patients can only have one visitor at a time, meaning his wife has to leave the room when he enters
Mum Rachel Nicholson was a near-perfect match for her son’s transplant. Little Max has aplastic anaemia, a condition which means the bone marrow and stem cells do not produce enough blood cells
Max underwent his first round of chemotherapy last week and will have the transplant once the treatment is completed.
But Rachel and husband Connor Gardner now face spending two months apart while Max is treated at the Royal Victoria Infirmary due to the new rules which say Rachel can stay with her ill son but Connor can only visit his ill boy at specific visiting hours.
Connor, 29, said: “My son is about to start chemotherapy to be given a bone marrow transplant, is this really the right time to start separating parents from one another?
Max is undergoing chemotherapy now ahead of a bone marrow transplant form his mum in the coming months
“I’d like to know how they find this acceptable. We’ve isolated for two weeks prior to admission, my son and partner have been Covid tested and both results are negative.
WHAT IS APLASTIC ANAEMIA?
Aplastic anaemia is a serious, potentially life-threatening condition in which the bone marrow and stem cells do not produce enough blood cells.
The condition causes a drop in levels of red and white blood cells and platelets.
Red blood cells transport oxygen around the body, so a lack of them can starve muscles of oxygen, making people weaker and tired.
White blood cells are crucial for the immune system to function, and platelets are what helps the blood to clot when someone is injured.
Aplastic anaemia usually needs to be treated with a bone marrow transplant to kick-start the body into producing enough blood cells.
The condition can be inherited but can also develop on its own at any time.
In some cases, aplastic anaemia can develop into leukaemia, and it can lead to life-threatening heart failure.
It is a rare disease thought to affect around one in 500,000 people and is more common in children and older people.
Source: Great Ormond Street Hospital
“I am happy enough to be tested. “It is inhumane to ask children not to see both parents at the same time.”
“Rachel and I can’t spend time in the room together which is a safe place but we can go down to the cafe together and then one of us will come back. It makes no sense. Surely that is more dangerous for a child’s immune system.
“You are allowed to go to stores for wallpaper paste and play elite sport with 21 other people.
“I think the Government needs to look at the policy again. It needs a rethink.
‘I do understand why they are doing it, but I think the circumstances are different for parents of children who are ill.”
Before the new lockdown they were allowed to spend one hour together with their sick child.
But now only one visitor is allowed at a time, so Rachel must leave for Connor to be allowed in.
The fed-up dad added: “We can’t spend one hour together in the same room, when we are going through something so horrific and you can feel so low.
“I’m a bit frustrated. It is not the hospital’s fault, they have to follow what rules they have been told.”
A spokeswoman for the Newcastle NHS Foundation Trust said: “As a Trust we safely reintroduced visiting across inpatient wards in August last year.
“We have kept our restrictions to a minimum for as long as possible but following the announcement of a national lockdown and increasing cases of the new variant of Covid-19, we made the very difficult decision to implement stricter restrictions to essential visiting only.
“For our younger patients this means only one parent can be with them at any one time. We understand how disappointing this must be but the stricter restrictions are necessary to keep our patients, their families and our staff safe.”