Mum slams NHS for snubbing her son

MEDICAL CONDITION ... Zac Amos with mum Gemma Robson. Below, Zacs condition.

MEDICAL CONDITION ... Zac Amos with mum Gemma Robson. Below, Zacs condition.

A MUM from South Tyneside is aiming to raise £2,000 to help her baby son overcome a medical condition.

Gemma Robson’s six-month-old son, Zac, suffers from plagiocephaly – flat head syndrome.

The youngster developed the condition after being born with a weak neck muscle, which meant he couldn’t turn his head to the right.

As babies have soft skulls when first born, the muscle problem led to Zac’s head becoming flattened on the right side.

Gemma and her partner, Steven Amos, 32, a block paver, from Cleadon Park, South Shields, are now hoping to raise the cash to buy Zac a special helmet, which will help mould his head back into shape.

It is not available through the National Health Service, as it is classed as a cosmetic tool.

Instead, the family will try to raise the cash by hosting a charity night later this month.

Gemma, 30, who is also mum to Luke, 10, said: “We’ve been told the problem might correct itself over time, but I don’t want to wait, on the off-chance it doesn’t.

“Children can be cruel and I don’t want him to be picked on because his head is a different shape.

“As the condition does not affect his health, the NHS won’t fund a helmet. It seems very unfair.

“You hear about women getting breast implants on the NHS, but we can’t get this for Zac. He never asked to be born this way.”

Gemma has been taking Zac to physiotherapy to strengthen his neck and says there has been an improvement. She’s also been encouraging him to lie on his left side, by supporting his body with a rolled-up towel. Gemma said: “I’ve been doing everything that’s been asked, even making sure friends and family stand to the side of him, to make sure he has to turn to see them and use his muscles.

“The flatness hasn’t improved, so we are keen to try the helmet.

“It could solve the problem in as little as 12 weeks, which would be amazing.

“He would have to wear it 23 hours a day, only taking it off for bathing, but it would be worth it.”

The charity night will be held for Zac’s benefit at the Rose and Crown pub in Centenary Avenue, South Shields, on Friday, January 31.

Tickets costing £2 are available from the pub or by calling Gemma on 07704 945 247.

There will also be a raffle at the event.

Twitter @ShieldsGazVez

Disorder affects the skull

Plagiocephaly is a disorder that affects the skull, making the back or side of a baby’s head appear flattened.

It is sometimes called deformational plagiocephaly.

Positional plagiocephaly is much more common now.

Some reports estimate positional plagiocephaly affects about half of all babies under a year old, but to varying degrees.

As improvement, even without treatment, is common, it is difficult to get a true estimate.

Positional plagiocephaly is produced by pressure from the outside on part of the skull.

It can occur while the baby is still developing in the womb, but in recent years, flattening occurring after the baby is born has become much more frequent.

One cause of pressure on the skull is the baby’s sleeping position.

Doctors have long recommended all babies sleep on their backs to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

A result of this is babies now spend much of their early lives on their backs while sleeping, being carried about or in car seats at a time when their skull is softest and easily moulded into a different shape.

The mattresses they lie on are firmer than before, and it is the combination of these factors that has led to an increase in the number of babies with positional plagiocephaly.

However, doctors still recommend that babies sleep on their backs, as the benefit of reducing SIDS far outweighs any dangers due to positional plagiocephaly.

Some babies also have a tendency to turn their heads in one direction more easily than the other for the first few months of life.

If these babies develop positional plagiocephaly, it affects the back of the head on the side which they always lie on.


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