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Epileptic, Autistic Boy Evicted By Hackney Homes Fighting For Life In Hospital

May 25, 2013

Readers, I wonder if we can help in any way by sharing this everywhere possible? Why hasn’t it had mainstream coverage?

Just two weeks after Hackney Homes forced a sick epileptic boy out of his home despite doctors’ warnings the upheaval could trigger life-threatening fits, he is fighting for his life in hospital.



George Hawkins, 16, who suffers from degenerative autistic condition Dravet Syndrome, began having unusual seizure activity and spasms last Saturday, but stopped breathing and turned blue after taking a dose of Midazalam, an emergency medication to stop seizures, the following night.

He has spent the last few days on a ventilator in the Royal London Hospital, and doctors are trying out various strong drugs to control his fits – which have still not worked to bring them under control.

His mum Debbie Hawkins said he stopped breathing 10 times before ambulance crew arrived on Sunday.

“I really thought I had lost him,” she said.

“George has not had to be ventilated since he was three-years old, so this whole episode from seizures to stopping breathing is not normal for him.

“Although I could never prove it I’m sure all the upheaval and confusion has caused this, but this has happened 100 times worse than any of us expected.”

Mrs Hawkins believes living in four different places within the space of two weeks triggered George’s fits, and is angry with Hackney Homes for ignoring doctors’ advice and evicting the family.

Jon Wheater, director of care and family services at Richard House children’s hospice, where George sometimes stays for respite care, had written to Hackney Homes warning: “George needs stable surroundings as the likelihood of increased seizures and challenging behaviours will increase over periods of change and will very likely lead to him requiring higher levels of supervision, medication re-assessment and more direct care.”

He added: “I know from my senior staff members supporting George over this stressful period that he is becoming more anxious and we are assessing his stability and number of seizures.”

And Adelaida Martinez, consultant paediatric neurologist from the Royal London Hospital who has cared for George since he was a toddler, had told them: “George has intractable epilepsy, severe global developmental delay, severe behavioural problems and also the risk of being aggressive. If there are any changes to his daily routine, he could have increased seizure frequency and anger outbursts.”

She continued: “I am aware of the tenancy rules that the borough has but I feel this is the time when the rules need to be able to accommodate people who are in desperate need of a stable home.

“I would very much appreciate if all of the above is taken into consideration and the family is allowed to remain at the maternal family home.”

The family was evicted on Tuesday May 7, but just three days after the Gazette contacted Hackney Homes about the situation, a suitable home was found for the Hawkins family, and they moved in on Thursday May 16.

But by that time George had spent time in four different properties within the space of two weeks – his old family home in Upper Clapton, Richard House children’s hospice, the temporary accommodation in Forest Road once funding for the hospice ran out, and then the new home.

“When we got keys to new house and I felt I sigh of relief thinking the nightmare was over. Little did I know that my nightmare was about to begin only 48 hours,” said Ms Hawkins.

“I have absolutely no energy left at the moment. I just can’t get over what is happening.

“My younger children are being passed round to friends and family while I’m here.

“It really is like watching someone else’s life fall apart then suddenly realising, “Oh no it’s my life that its happening to.””

Bureaucratic rules meant Ms Hawkins and her three children were told to leave the council home her parents had inhabited for the last 40 years in Morton Close, Upper Clapton, after her father’s death two years ago.

Hackney Homes’ rules do not allow her to take over her father’s tenancy.

The family was entitled to a larger four-bedroom council property, and Hackney Council insisted that they needed to vacate their current home and move into temporary accommodation until a suitable house with disabled access became available.

A faulty heating system operating at full blast at the temporary accommodation in Forest Road meant the family had to be split up, with George staying at Richard House because his fits can also be triggered by heat.

A spokesman for Hackney Homes said their thoughts were with George and his family.

The arms-length housing management organisation has apologised and is now reviewing what went wrong.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. May 26, 2013 9:22 am

    Reblogged this on kickingthecat.

  2. nick permalink
    May 26, 2013 3:50 pm

    Linda Wootton: Double heart and lung transplant dies nine days after she has benefits stopped
    26 May 2013 00:01

    She was told her employment and support allowance was being stopped as she lay dying in a hospital bed
    A double heart and lung transplant patient died just NINE DAYS after the Government stopped her benefits and ordered her to go back to work.

    Linda Wootton, 49, was on 10 prescription drugs a day, suffering high blood pressure, renal failure and regular blackouts.

    Yet Atos – the private firm carrying out the Government’s controversial work capability assessments – ruled she was fit enough to find a job after she was interviewed.

    Cost-cutting officials sent Linda a letter telling her that her £108.05 a week employment and support allowance was being stopped as she lay dying in a hospital bed.

    Her husband Peter said: “I sat there and listened to my wife drown in her own body fluids. It took half an hour for her to die – and that’s a woman who’s ‘fit for work’. The last months of her life were a misery because she worried about her benefits, feeling useless, like a scrounger.

    “But there was no way in a million years she could work.”

    The Coalition hired Atos to carry out the assessments as part of the welfare cuts. The firm processed almost 20,000 incapacity benefit claimants a week last year… but a third of the people who appealed against its decisions were successful.

    Linda also appealed but was rejected despite her history.

    She had her first heart and lung transplant in 1985 and ­returned to her council office job. But her body began to reject her new organs and she had another transplant at Harefield Hospital, Middlesex, in 1989.

    There were complications and she was given 80 pints of blood in 31 hours of surgery. Afterwards, Linda was never fit enough to go back to work and claimed benefits. Refrigeration engineer Peter, 50, said: “She would be listless, falling asleep, feeling faint… she had no stamina.”

    She collapsed regularly and was in and out of the Harefield specialist heart and lung centre.

    Then, three months ago, her employment support allowance was withdrawn under the Govern­ment’s cuts. New rules meant she would have to prove she was ill to Atos assessors.

    Peter said Linda found the process humiliating. The assessments, which have also seen some terminal cancer patients denied benefits, have been blasted as arduous and degrading.

    Linda’s was at a test centre in Southend, eight miles from her home in Rayleigh, Essex, on January 3. “She couldn’t even drive herself because she kept feeling faint,” said Peter, who was not allowed in to support her.

    Linda spent just 20 minutes answering questions before the assessor ended the interview.

    She was judged fit for work and her benefit was stopped on February 13. Peter said Linda typed her appeal on an iPad “crying her eyes out” as she lay in hospital chronically ill with a chest infection.

    But the Department for Work and Pensions rejected it – and wrote to her on April 16 as she lay dying. The letter said: “We have decided that you are not entitled to Employment and Support Allowance because you have been found to be capable of work following your recent Work Capability Assessment.”

    Linda was told she would have to “score” at least 15 points from the assessment but her results were nil.

    The Atos criteria for ability to work included “You can understand simple messages from a stranger” and “You can use a computer keyboard or mouse and a pen or a pencil with at least one hand.”

    On April 22 Peter was called to Harefield. “I was told Linda’s condition was unsurvivable and she would be dead within two or three weeks,” he said.

    “On April 24 they put her on palliative care. I sat all night with her and her breathing changed next morning.” Linda died 30 minutes later. More than 100 mourners attended her funeral earlier this month.

    While the Atos assessment failed to pinpoint any of Linda’s health issues, her death certificate listed lung and heart problems, hypertension and chronic renal failure as causes.

    Peter cannot grieve properly because he is so angry at how Whitehall bureaucrats ruined his wife’s precious last days. He said: “She paid her tax and national insurance – then she is treated like this. It’s disgusting.”

    A Department for Work and Pensions spokesman said: “Our sympathy goes out to Mrs Wootton’s family. A decision on whether someone is well enough to work is taken following a thorough assessment and after consideration of all supporting medical evidence.”

  3. May 26, 2013 3:53 pm

    i think like all blogs were just going round in circles everyday with death and depressing stories and it’s about time the police or whoever put a stop on the human rights abuses in the uk because this government wont be letting up just like the Syrian government

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