Mum of housebound teen suffering long Covid says doctors 'washed their hands' of her

The frustrated mum of a housebound teenager with long Covid has told how doctors have ‘washed their hands of her’, after she was refused a wheelchair.

By Jolene Campbell
Tuesday, 28th June 2022, 6:12 pm
Updated Tuesday, 28th June 2022, 6:16 pm

Sharron Gaw from Dunfermline said it’s a ‘constant battle’ trying to get any help for daughter Courtney, 13, who struggles to get of the house due to severe and debilitating long Covid fatigue and widespread pain.

Courtney first got Covid in March 2020, and since getting it again a few months ago, her health has got worse. Two years on, mum Sharron says the family are getting nowhere with doctors or her school.

The youngster and her mum joined families and charity Long Covid Kids Scotland outside the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday to demand the Scottish Government take urgent action to help the 10,000 kids estimated to be suffering from the debilitating illness.

Courtney and Sharron at Scottish Parliament on Tuesday

Formerly a keen dancer, Courtney manages to attend school for a few hours a week if she gets a taxi. Even getting dressed and leaving the house causes pain and leaves her exhausted.

But mum-of-two Sharron said doctors told her they had ‘no plans’ to see Courtney in the next year.

Following requests from January the NHS Fife Physiotherapy team failed to provide Courtney with a wheelchair.

Sharron, who lost her job because she had to be at home to care for her sick daughter, has had to scrimp on food money to buy a wheelchair.

Courtney has long covid which leaves her exhausted and sore

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Breaking down in tears, Sharron told the Evening News: “After covid Courtney was bedridden for more than six weeks. Then when school went back she went into first year but walking up hill to get there she’d drop to the pavement.

“School keeps trying to force her back into the classroom. The doctors have labelled her and left her. They said there’s nothing more they can do.

“I'm so worried about her. I feel helpless. Come bedtime she sometimes cries and says she hates her life. She asks me if it will be like this forever. She has lost her friends. Some said she is a faker and called her a freak.

Courtney, 13, before she got covid in March 2020

“It’s a constant battle. Paediatrics said they have no plans to see her for a year. I’m not prepared to accept there’s nothing they can do.”

She added: “It’s so unfair that Courtney is stuck at home most of the time. I can't get any help from school or afford private tutoring. She has had some physiotherapy which involves going into the gym for about 20 minutes. She suffers for days after. But that's all doctors have done. Refer her for physiotherapy then washed their hands of her.”

"I don’t know where else to turn. I was nearly at the point of giving up when I found out about Long Covid Kids Scotland. If it wasn’t for them I don’t know what would have happened to us.”

Long Covid Kids is calling on the Scottish Government to put in place a strategy for treatment of children and young people with long Covid.

In May, the Scottish Government announced the first £3 million of a £10 million fund, which is being allocated to individual health boards over three years to bolster support.

Humza Yousaf said he is “committed to keeping the dialogue ongoing”.