A teenager who survived against the odds after a moped accident which left him paralysed and unable to speak is being denied access to specialist rehabilitation treatment.
Christian-Lee Thompson suffered devastating head injuries when he was involved in an incident, which is currently under investigation, along Hemel Hempstead’s Nickey Line on July 16.
The 15-year-old, who has fought his way back from the brink of death, was in a coma for two-and-a-half weeks and in intensive care at the Royal London Hospital for almost a month.
But now his heartbroken parents Lisa and Stephen are being forced to battle to secure their son a place within a rehabilitation centre for young brain injury patients.
Dad Stephen said: “Everytime we look at our son it breaks our hearts. “We know what we have got to face and we will never come to terms with it. We are living the nightmare.”
After being flown to the London hospital, Christian-Lee underwent life-saving surgery to remove the top of his skull to ease the pressure on his swollen brain.
The teen, who is paralysed down his left side, was ready to be transferred to a specialist unit for brain injury patients at the beginning of October.
A place had been secured at The Children’s Trust’s paediatric residential rehabilitation in Surrey but the charity has since decided it cannot meet Christian-Lee’s complex needs.
Stephen, of Woodhall Farm, said: “Lisa and I already felt like we were dumped in the middle of the ocean with no paddles. What they have done is put a hole in our boat.
“Our child has been dumped by a charity. If they had said this in the first place we could have looked at other places.”
The family fear the delay in access to intense rehabilitation could have a lifelong impact on the youngster’s road to recovery.
“Time is so important. Most people live their lives saying ‘I’ll do that tomorrow,’ Christian-Lee hasn’t got that,” said Stephen.
“Every minute of every day counts towards what he can achieve.
“That could be him walking, learning to speak or just communicating in some way.
“Every day that goes past there is less and less chance of his brain making those connections.”
The teenager, who went to Astley Cooper School, is currently staying on a surgical ward where there are no paediatric neurology doctors or nurses. His parents stay with him and provide much of the around-the-clock care he
He receives around seven hours of rehabilitation each week but in a specialist unit he would get around eight hours of intense treatment every day.
A spokesman for The Children’s Trust said: “Before coming to The Children’s Trust, all children undergo an assessment to ensure that intensive rehabilitation is suitable for the child and that we are the right place to be able to fully meet their needs.
“We have assessed Christian-Lee on two occasions and more recently our assessment team determined that we are not currently able to meet his individual needs and therefore are not a suitable option for his rehabilitation.”
Hemel Hempstead MP Mike Penning has met Christain-Lee and his parents, and has pledged to do all he can to help them.
The circumstances surrounding how the teenager sustained his injuries are currently under investigation by Herts Police and the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC). An investigation has also been launched by the East of England Ambulance Service.
A spokesman for the IPCC said: “The IPCC investigation into the actions of Hertfordshire police officers who responded to an incident in which a 15-year-old boy suffered serious injuries after an altercation on a moped is ongoing.
“The two officers who attended the incident have been served with notices informing them they are under investigation and criminal interviews concerning allegations of assault will be conducted in the near future.”
Det Insp Pete Frost said: “Our thoughts remain with Christian-Lee and his family at this very difficult time. The 61-year-old man who was
arrested following the incident remains on bail.
“Anyone with information about the incident can still contact police on the non-emergency number 101.”