Broken system, broken child

TALON Peatey can barely walk and it’s only going to get worse for the nine-year-old.

Last month her mother, Kristy Parker, was told Talon would get corrective surgery within 100 days.

Three days ago Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital told her the wait would now be more like 300 days.

The Lavington youngster walks high on her toes because of a shortened Achilles tendon in her left leg.

Surgeons can correct the problem by making an incision in Talon’s calf that would then allow them to lengthen the tendon.

In the meantime Ms Parker can do little but watch as Talon cries with pain every day, and her mobility is compromised even further as the months pass by.

“It’s heartbreaking, it really is heartbreaking,” she said.

“All she wants to do is ride a bike, but she can’t.

“She wants to run with her friends, she wants to go to the athletics carnival and go on school excursions but she just cannot do it.

“I don’t think any nine-year-old just wants to sit on the couch.”

Ms Parker has no issue with the children’s hospital, rather she is angry at a health system that allows such delays.

Ms Parker was adamant that government should better fund hospitals to prevent situations such as that faced by Talon, who “cries every day” because of her pain.

“I’m not saying that my child’s more important or that I should jump the queue,” she said.

“But Talon is a real person who’s been affected by government policy.

“If no one stands up and says this isn’t fair then government will continue to make policies without regard to anyone.”

Talon began walking on her toes in about November 2011.

At the time Mrs Parker thought the best thing was to just remind her not to do it.

When it continued she took Talon to see her doctor, who briefly considered it might be related to a previous bout of meningococcal but came to the conclusion it was because of the tendons in her legs.

Talon was referred to the children’s hospital, which put her on the waiting list in October.

“In January the hospital said that within 100 days they’ll call me and she’ll be done,” Ms Parker said.

“I rang them on Monday just to check progress, thinking that within two months I was going to have to go there.

“And they just said to me ‘we’ll be lucky to do it before the end of the year’.”

A hospital spokeswoman said privacy reasons prevented her discussing an individual patient’s case.

But she said the hospital spoke to Ms Parker again yesterday “to ensure she understands her daughter’s surgery category and time frame, and to reassure her of the steps she can take should she feel her daughter’s condition is deteriorating”.

“We have emphasised that patient care, including elective surgery, has not been affected in any way by government budget cuts sustained by The Royal Children’s Hospital earlier this year,” the spokeswoman said.

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