A grieving family are demanding answers after a dad with locked-in syndrome caught coronavirus and died in hospital.
Relatives say he was “clinically vulnerable” and should have been given a vaccine as a matter of priority as the pandemic hit.
But despite their pleas it was ruled Robert was too young – leaving him open to catching coronavirus.
He then passed away in February, leaving his family devastated, reports the Daily Record.
Locked-in syndrome is a complete paralysis of voluntary muscles, expect for those which control the eyes.
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Patients are still conscious but are unable to speak or move, although Robert was able to communicate with his family.
He also had a tracheostomy – meaning his breathing was via a tube.
This also left him vulnerable to infection and meant he could not be ventilated.
Hospitals were gearing up for coronavirus by February last year and Robert was forced to leave the high dependency unit at Crosshouse Hospital, Kilmarnock.
He was moved to Woodland View, Irvine, where he should have been only until a new home adapted for him was ready in August.
But all building work halted because of coronavirus, delaying the process.
After surviving a coronavirus outbreak in August, Robert’s family breathed a sigh of relief when the vaccine rollout began in December.
But, despite their pleas, they claim he wasn’t given his jab because he was deemed to be too young.
Sister Elaine Johnston said: “Robert was the most clinically vulnerable person in that whole place.”
In January, there was another outbreak in Robert’s ward and he tested positive.
Elaine added: “By February his oxygen stats were getting low and we were told it would be ‘any day now’. He passed on February 6.
“I was at the window when he died.
“Robert should have been vaccinated – even if not for him, for the nurses who had to treat him.”
Robert’s mum Ena, 82, added: “It was so cruel to lose him like that after he had fought so hard for so many years.”
Dr Crawford McGuffie, medical director of NHS Ayrshire & Arran expressed his “sincere condolences” but said they were following the JCVI vaccine prioritisation.
Because of patient confidentiality, he could not comment further.