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Cancer tragedy teen Ozzie 'failed by health service'

Grieving mum wants dedicated unit for young

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Heartbreak: Ozzie Rogers with dad Simon and mum Miranda

Heartbreak: Ozzie Rogers with dad Simon and mum Miranda

Heartbreak: Ozzie Rogers with dad Simon and mum Miranda

The heartbroken mum of a teenage cancer patient who died has said the health service failed her son in his final days and has called for a dedicated teenage and young adult unit in Northern Ireland.

Ozzie Rogers (17), from Knockloughrim in Co Londonderry, passed away last Thursday after a long battle against acute myeloid leukaemia.

Mum Miranda opened up about the trauma of watching her son spend his final hours crying out in pain, begging not to die in unfamiliar surroundings.

She is backing an online petition launched by another grieving parent calling for teenagers and young adults to get the end-of-life care they deserve.

"The image of Ozzie dying, those last few gasps of breath, will haunt me until my grave," said Miranda, who buried her son on Tuesday.

Too old for the children's ward where all the Magherafelt High School GCSE student's treatment had previously been carried out, Ozzie was placed in an adult ward, despite pleading to spend his final days in familiar surroundings.

"Not once did Ozzie complain about his illness, but he so desperately wanted to go home," Miranda explained.

"He was too unwell. He asked to be transferred back to the children's unit for treatment. He was denied.

"I was not happy with him being there either. I'd had to lie on a reclining chair for five weeks and a previous six weeks back in May.

"There are no beds for parents to be able to stay with their son or daughter.

"A friend brought me a fold-away bed. I used that for a week until I was told that hospital management didn't allow it because of health and safety issues."

She said that after witnessing what her child experienced in his final hours, priority must be given to establishing a teenage and young adult unit.

"It breaks my heart he died in so much agonising pain," added Miranda. "His daddy rubbed his back all day from 7am until 8.20pm, the moment he died.

"There is a petition in circulation started by another grieving father and we want as many signatures as possible."

Belfast man Sean Smyth has been running Eimear's Wish in memory of his daughter to raise awareness of stem cell donation. He also wants a specialist centre for teenagers and young adults.

"I spent hours talking to Sean and one thing was apparent - why is there no unit for children? Why were our children treated in an adult world they weren't ready for?" Miranda asked.

The Department of Health was contacted for comment.

You can sign the petition by searching for 'Sean Smyth' at change.org

Belfast Telegraph