Mum separated from baby for a year pleads with Manchester hospital to let him go home

Ashleigh Bamber faces a 70-mile round trip each day to visit her little boy in Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital.
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

A mum is locked in battle with a hospital over her son - who has barely been home since birth. Rowan-George Woodruff, one, was born with atresia, a rare condition in his throat.

He had a tracheotomy soon after birth - which medics say needs constant monitoring. This means Rowan-George has spent most of his life in Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital - although he was allowed home for Christmas.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The hospital says the youngster needs two-to-one care at all times but that they are working towards discharging him. But mum-of-two Ashleigh Bamber, 28, says that she wants her boy home with her in Preston right now - describing the last year as “absolute hell”.

She said: “He’s such a rare case. They’re so frightened of him being discharged him. I just want him home with his family. It’s made me feel like a very lonely person.

“My body says you’ve had a baby and craves your child when you’re not with them.”

Rowan-George’s condition means he was born with no upper airway or windpipe. To allow him to breathe, an airway was built using his ribcage and through his voice box.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

He has been allowed home for brief visits but, a year after his birth, has barely left the hospital. This means Ashleigh has had to travel 35 miles from Preston to Manchester almost daily to see her son.

Her partner, Aaron Woodruff, is self-employed and works full-time after Ashleigh quit her job to care for Rowan-George.

Ashleigh Bamber and Rowan-George Woodruff Credit: SWNSAshleigh Bamber and Rowan-George Woodruff Credit: SWNS
Ashleigh Bamber and Rowan-George Woodruff Credit: SWNS

And her eldest son, Cameron Tymon, eight, is diagnosed with autism. She said: “I have an autistic eight-year-old and maintain a house. Manchester isn’t around the corner from me so it’s a long way. I go five to six times a week but it’s not enough, he’s my child, my baby.”

Ashleigh says she was originally told Rowan-George could return home with her as long as he had a discharge package. This would mean he was constantly supervised by one person.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

So she says she spent £5,000 on adapting her house so he could be looked after in the downstairs of the home - but says the hospital then refused to discharge him.

She claims they said they needed two people supervising him at all times. Ashleigh said: “He had all the equipment at home. But at the last minute the hospital said it wasn’t going to be enough and he needed two carers, not one.

“It’s absolutely heartbreaking – I’ve got all of his equipment here, all of his clothes and he’s not here. He’s my son and I just can’t have him.

“I know he misses me because as soon as he sees me, he’s happy and gets all excited and can’t get to me quick enough.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“I understand the hospital have done so much - they’ve saved his life and I appreciate everything they’ve done. But since the surgery there’s so much they’re forgetting to do.

“They leave him on his own and don’t play with him – every night there’s not a cuddle at bedtime, no kisses or comfort. The hospital say, ‘We don’t want you to be left alone, he needs two people at all times’.

Rowan-George Woodruff and Cameron Tymon.Rowan-George Woodruff and Cameron Tymon.
Rowan-George Woodruff and Cameron Tymon.

“What they’re concerned about is if the tracheotomy is blocked or removed. Then, he has no airway and there is a big possibility he could die. I’m very aware of that.

“But we are more than prepared to sit and be with him all the time. I know you can’t just nip out and make a brew.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Ashleigh claims the hospital will only fund one carer for 145 hours a week, leaving Rowan-George without a carer for 23 hours a week.

She says they are unable to pay for a carer for 23 hours a week themselves, and says she would be required to be the second full-time carer - meaning she would be around her son 24 hours a day, leaving her unable to return to work.

A spokesperson for Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital said: “We aim to get all our patients back home as quickly as is safely possible and, with several family members now trained in Rowan-George’s care, everyone’s very pleased that he could enjoy Christmas at home.

“We’ll continue to support Rowan-George and his family towards a successful discharge.

“A fully-funded care package has been agreed for him by the NHS and recruitment is now taking place for his carers.”

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.