Mum turned away from shut A&E with son struggling to breathe

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Hayley Thomas was horrified after taking her six-year-old to the emergency room only to find the hospital closed

A concerned mother has blasted a ‘crumbling’ A&E service after being turned away from a hospital with her son who was struggling to breathe.

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Hayley Thomas, 41, has been told Southport & Ormskirk Hospital in Lancashire is closed after she arrived at the emergency room with her son Buddy in the middle of the night.

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The mother was shocked after being told to go to another hospital 30 minutes away as her child was having trouble breathing.

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Hayley has now started a petition to open up A&E departments 24/7, urging hospital bosses to take action before it “could cost lives”.

Hayley Thomas was left in shock after trying to take her son Buddy to her local emergency room in the middle of the night, only to find it was closed. (Image credit: SWNS)

Hayley was woken up by Buddy making “funny noises”.

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The mother-of-two said she woke up in the middle of the night after hearing Buddy make a “strange noise”.

When she found her son, she saw that he was struggling to breathe.

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She said: “I woke up in the night to a weird noise and went to his room and he was just struggling to breathe. He sat up and wasn’t even awake.

“So we brought him over and tried to calm him down but he was getting more and more agitated.

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“I said ‘okay, let’s go!’ and thought, ‘I’m not calling 911 because I know they just say, ‘Go to the ER’.”

Buddy had trouble breathing when his mother tried to take him to the emergency room. (Image credit: SWNS)

Hayley immediately strapped her little boy into the car and drove to the local pediatric emergency room at Southport & Ormskirk Hospital.

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However, upon arrival, she was told by a security guard that the building was closed.

She said: “I parked, got him out of the car and it was all dark and closed.

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“So I turned the corner and went to another entrance. And one security guard just said, ‘Oh no, no – we’re closed! You can go to Alder Hey Hospital if you want.”

“He didn’t ask me about my son. It could have been anything, and it could have only gotten worse. It’s just not right. I was very angry”.

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“Service is crumbling before our eyes”

During the additional 30-minute ride, Hayley noticed that Buddy’s breathing was slowly improving.

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She decided to head home and made an appointment with the doctor for the morning, where Buddy was diagnosed with suspected asthma.

She said: “It’s just not right, that’s all I know in my heart. The emergency room should be available 24 hours a day.

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“I think the ministry is crumbling before our eyes and it will affect us all. I don’t know if it’s the funding or some other excuse.”

Buddy’s father, Gary, stayed home with his sister while Hayley desperately tried to get help for her son. (Image credit: SWNS)

On its website, Southport & Ormskirk Hospital says the emergency department is open “7 days a week from 8am to midnight”, with time being limited “due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic”.

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Hayley starts petition

Shortly after her harrowing experience at the hospital, Hayley started a petition for hospital bosses to reopen A&E departments full-time.

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She said: “I just thought I’d start this petition. I didn’t know what to do or anything. And it was really slow at first, but now it’s picking up a little speed.

“I just feel like I have to do something. I can’t just say, ‘My kids are fine now, I’m fine’.”

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She added: “My kids are getting older now so you don’t go through that as much while there you need that when they’re babies – you have to know that’s open.

“I’ve been there a lot when the kids were babies and you’re in a complete panic.”

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The petition was supported by other parents, with the online campaign already collecting more than 1,100 signatures.

Urging bosses to return to pre-pandemic hours, Hayley says: “The whole country can go where and when it wants, but if you can’t meddle with A&E then it just doesn’t make sense.

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“That’s where we need to be if there’s something damn wrong with us. They cannot close because we are in close proximity.”

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