Disabled Wembley man's operation delayed three times due to covid

Zen Ahmed

Zen Ahmed's operation has been delayed three times since September and he is in constant pain - Credit: Waqas Ahmed

A disabled Wembley man has seen a vital operation delayed three times because intensive care beds are prioritising Covid patients.

Zen Ahmed, who has severe learning disabilities and mental health issues, was due to have an operation to remove a mass on his pancreas at Hammersmith Hospital in September. 

The mass on his pancreatic head has been growing since June 2019 and is causing blockages to his liver and severe pain.

The 23-year-old is on multiple drugs and is fed through a tube.

Zen Ahmed

Disabled Zen Ahmed must be fed through a tube as a mass continues to grow on his pancreatic head - Credit: Waqas Ahmed

The Imperial College Trust, which runs the hospital says it now has up to 150 ICU beds but that "all non-time critical elective surgery" has been suspended. 

Zen's brother Waqas Ahmed said: "Three times we were promised that an operation would be done yet nothing has happened.

"Zen has lost a significant amount of weight and if he loses anymore then an operation would no longer be viable. 

"What make the story sad about Zen is that he has a severe learning disability as well as mental health conditions and is unable to communicate.

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"He has been admitted to St Marys well over 20 times in the past year alone who discharge him only for him to come back again." 

Waqas Ahmed with disabled younger brother Zen Ahmed

Waqas Ahmed with disabled younger brother Zen Ahmed - Credit: Waqas Ahmed

A CT scan was completed on September 15 and the family were allegedly told an operation could be done "within four weeks", but it has been delayed three times.

In the latest correspondence seen by this paper, Zen's doctor Mr Spalding said he "is happy to do the operation".

The note says "ITU capacity is full due to Covid. Will require ITU bed after operation so unable to proceed at the moment. ITU capacity is controlled centrally as per the governments COVID response."

Mr Spalding "made the case for the operation to go ahead but this is beyond his control".

Zen is now 10kg under weight, causing further delay which his family said "could have been avoided".

Dr Katie Urch, divisional director of surgery at the Imperial, said: “We understand many people waiting for treatment will be disappointed or worried that their surgery has been delayed by Covid-19.

“Like the rest of London, we are still under extreme pressure, especially in our intensive care units, which means we are only able to carry out surgery that is absolutely time-critical. The prioritisation of what is time critical is undertaken by our clinicians."

She said waiting lists are constant under review and they "will provide more planned surgery as soon as it is safe to do so.”