Conner Lennie, 11 months, is still awaiting an operation to correct his cleft palate after two trips to Brisbane.
Conner Lennie, 11 months, is still awaiting an operation to correct his cleft palate after two trips to Brisbane.

Battler Conner waits for surgery

By SAM BENGERsamb@gladstoneobserver.com.au

CONNER Lennie is the apple of his parents' eye.

In his mum Jessica's eyes, other babies 'look funny' and Conner is beautiful just as he is despite being born with a bilateral cleft lip and palate.

After months of waiting for an operation to fuse his palate, Conner was turned away from the Royal Children's Hospital not once, but twice.

His condition means the roof of his mouth, gums and top lip are not properly joined.

'We had an appointment in Brisbane for March 16, and we went down there and were getting ready to take him to pre-op the day before when they rang us ? an hour before our appointment ? and told us there was some kind of emergency and they couldn't operate,'' Mrs Lennie said.

'Then they rang back with a new date, but they had to cancel that because the doctor was on holidays, and then we got a date set for April 12.

'This time we got to Caboolture and they rang and said they didn't have an ICU (Intensive Care Unit) bed available because there were a couple of kids that needed the beds for longer than they were expecting.'

Mrs Lennie said while she did not blame the doctors or the hospital for the cancellations, it was frustrating to prepare for the operation and leave her other son Jay, 6, at home with her mother while she went to Brisbane with her husband Justin and Conner.

A spokesperson from Queensland Health said the hospital "regretted'' not being able to perform the operation.

'The hospital does endeavour to prioritise elective surgery for people who have to travel from country areas, however emergency service surgery will always take precedence, as it did in this case,' the spokesperson said.

Since Conner was born, Justin said the couple had had to travel to Brisbane 'every two weeks up until October' and he had been unable to return to work.

'I've been off work since he was born, and I was meant to go back in a couple of weeks, but it looks like I'll have to wait now,' Mr Lennie said.

The couple has now made another appointment for Conner's operation and will travel down to Brisbane again next month.



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