Delayed crucial op for little Bella Collins takes place today
A disabled toddler who missed out on important surgery at the last minute after no specialist bed was found to be available is preparing to go into theatre today.
Bella Collins had been due in surgery on Thursday for her sleep apnoea – a condition that cuts off her airways as she sleeps – but it was cancelled when the hospital found out there was no high-dependency bed for her afterwards.
That meant treatment for her other serious conditions – which include spina bifida, epilepsy and hydrocephalus – at the world-renowned Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital in London was put on hold.
After the Belfast Telegraph highlighted the Londonderry youngster's plight, her treatment at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children was rescheduled.
Last night Bella's mum Amanda Dougherty said her daughter had been seen by doctors yesterday ahead of today's life-changing operation.
"It is good news it is happening," she said from her daughter's bedside at the Royal.
"She has seen doctors from ENT today and it is definitely going ahead, which is a relief."
Ms Dougherty said they were especially relieved to be in the Royal after Bella's condition had recently worsened.
"She did not have a great weekend," she said.
"She is the best she can be during the day but the sleep apnoea was at its worst over the weekend.
"Bella does not have a clue, bless her.
"We are excited and hopeful. If she recovers really well she could be out in a couple of days."
Last Thursday Ms Dougherty said she was at her wits' end with worry and angry that her daughter's treatment for other conditions was being held up due to the lack of a bed.
She said: "Watching your daughter's breathing cut out for between seven and 10 seconds every 30 seconds is extremely distressing, on top of everything else she has to deal with.
"When we found out there was a space booked for her in the theatre we were so relieved.
"But that didn't last long because then we were told that we couldn't take her to Belfast because there was no high dependency bed available for her when she would come out of theatre."
Two-year-old Bella has spent every night in February in Altnagelvin Hospital to monitor her sleep apnoea and make sure she doesn't stop breathing in her sleep. Her operation will involve the removal of her enlarged tonsils, which are restricting her breathing. Her mum has told of how distressing it is for Bella to have her breathing cut out while asleep.