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My son has been refused an operation on NHS for life-threatening condition – I’m so angry

A TEENAGER was refused an operation on the NHS for a life threatening condition – because docs say it is ‘cosmetic surgery’.

Harry Walker, 14, has a concave chest which gives him severe back pain and could soon crush his rib cage and lungs if not treated.

Harry Walker, 14, pictured with mum Caroline, was refused an operation on the NHS for a life threatening condition – because docs say it is ‘cosmetic surgery’

The keen drummer needs metal strips inserted on either side of his breastbone to strengthen and straighten his chest.

Mum Caroline, 46, said: “I’m so angry, how can this be cosmetic surgery when my son is suffering every day with the pain and exhaustion caused by impaired breathing by his chest bones.”

The surgery is available on the NHS in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland but NHS England say there is not enough evidence to support the procedure.

Harry, of Witham, Essex, has stopped playing drums along to his favourite rock band Queen because his back hurts so much.

Earlier this year heart specialist Professor Shyam Kolvekar at Bart’s Hospital, London, diagnosed him with a deep Pectus Excavatum in his chest and Scoliosis, a severe curvature of the back.

Prof Kolvekar has offered to perform the operation for £18,000.

The senior consultant said: “In my view, not every case of this condition is cosmetic because it affects the well-being of the child and can often being life changing.

“In Harry’s case, if not corrected, it could go on to be life threatening.”



Caroline and dad Stephen, 49, set up a Go Fund Me page asking Brits to donate towards the cost of Harry’s surgery.

If the family raise the cash, Harry’s operation is planned for February next year, followed by a six week recovery period and a six month ‘no exercise’ regime.

Caroline added: “Harry’s school has been raising funds for us from a non-uniform day which raised over £2,000.

“Clearly, as parents, we’re anxious for Harry to have the surgery as soon as possible.

“But I couldn’t believe it when I was told the procedure had been decommissioned in 2019 and was regarded by NHS England as cosmetic surgery!.

“Professor Kolvekar told us he could perform the operation privately for a fee of £18,000.

“I was mortified. How could we raise that amount of money? But, like any parents, we would do anything to save our son’s life.”

A spokesman for the Department of Health and Social care said “The decision to refuse Harry‘s operation would have been made by Mid Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust on their interpretation of the policy.”

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