By VIEW editor Brian Pelan
A Belfast mother whose five-year-old son has a rare medical condition has pleaded for help in finding a new house so she can bring him home from hospital.
Christina McCourt, who lives in a two-bedroom apartment in north Belfast, has been on the Northern Ireland Housing Executive’s waiting list for over a year.
Her son Jonathan suffers from Geleophysic Dysplasia, which is a rare condition with several life-threatening medical issues, including breathing and cardiac issues. The little boy, who is a patient in the children’s unit of the Royal Victoria Hospital (RVH) in Belfast, has endured many medical procedures. He recently underwent his biggest surgery yet to give him a stable airway via a tracheotomy.
Christina, who has three other children, spends her days trying to care for her family and regular daily visits to the RVH to visit Jonathan.
She said: “The Housing Executive offered me temporary accommodation but it wasn’t suitable for Jonathan who has specialist medical needs due to his condition.
“We need a house that has a downstairs bedroom/bathroom for Jonathan. His lifesaving medial equipment takes up a lot of room. Carers would also need to stay with him at night-time. My son needs 24-hour care. His condition, which is progressive and life limiting, is a rare form of dwarfism. He is the only child in Northern Ireland who suffers from it.
‘I’m aware that there is a housing crisis at the moment. There is also not enough homes being built that have disability access. My life is a constant nightmare. You’re constantly fighting and fighting for a home. It’s a long drawn-out process which is so stressful’
“He was healthy when he was born, but after about 10 months he started to suffer from infection after infection. He was eventually diagnosed as suffering from Geleophysic Dysplasia last year.
“I’m constantly anxious about him. I’m always waiting on a phone call from the hospital.
I’m aware that there is a housing crisis at the moment. There is also not enough homes being built that have disability access. My life is a constant nightmare. You’re constantly fighting and fighting for a home. It’s a long drawn-out process which is so stressful.
“Jonathan’s medical team are also fighting to get us a home.
“I just want us all living under the same roof. Jonathan would also be able to see his brothers and sister.
“Every day that I have him is a blessing. At present he has to remain in hospital until we get a new home that meets his needs.”
A spokesman for the Housing Executive has said it had “offered the family temporary accommodation”.
He added: “We will continue to work to provide them with a permanent housing solution.”