Arthritis kids in dire pain call for funds
A TEENAGER who spent much of his early years in severe pain from arthritis has urged the Government to train more doctors.
Danny De Vaal (16) has days when the pain is so bad that on a scale of 1-10 his pain scores 11.
He was diagnosed with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis at the age of seven and spent five gruesome years on medication which made him constantly sick before doctors settled on his current regime.
The teenager from North Wall in Dublin is now appealing to the Government to fund more doctors to treat young children with this condition.
"Its just so wrong on so many levels to have six and seven-year-olds in pain waiting months to see a specialist and get treatment.
"There's so few specialists it could take six months for an appointment," says Danny.
More than 1,000 young children in this country have juvenile arthritis. In Danny's case it has no known cause.
He said when he was seven he got a rash on his body and the pain started a few weeks later. His mother Lesley took him to the hospital several times but it was only when she refused to leave that he finally got a diagnosis. The first drug, which he took through an injection and tablets for five years "made me really sick. I had no quality of life. I had a metallic taste in my mouth and I felt the nausea all the time."
When he was 13 doctors put him on a different drug which his mother has to inject once a week. It makes life a bit easier but the condition is still unpredictable.
"You could be fine one day and the next day wake up in awful pain. You just never know, you have to take it one day at a time.
Arthritis Ireland yesterday highlighted how young children were waiting in pain for two years for doctors' appointments.
Dr Orla Killeen, one of only two consultant paediatric rheumatologists in the country said juvenile arthritis (JA) requires early aggressive treatment and if left untreated can lead to "permanent muscle wastage, joint damage and deformity".
Arthritis Ireland CEO John Church says their vital JA programme does not receive any state funding and appealed to the public to donate by texting 'JA' to 50300 to donate €2.