A Lisnaskea mother has spoken of her terrifying ordeal having to drive her Covid-positive daughter, who became unresponsive after experiencing a severe asthma attack, to A&E after she was refused help at her local health centre.

Katie Charles, the teenage daughter of Jill Charles, tested positive for Covid-19 last Thursday and later experienced a severe asthma attack.

"I could just see the colour draining from her," said Jill, who, seeing how ill her daughter was, called Maple Healthcare Centre in Lisnaskea, where Katie is a patient.

Unable to get through on the phone, Jill took Katie to the health centre by car.

"We landed down at the health centre and went to the door. The receptionist was very good, she took my details and asked me to go back out and sit in my car. She said I'll ring you out to the car," explained Jill. When she returned to her car, she could see that her daughter was getting worse.

Expecting that Katie would be seen at the health centre, where she is known as an asthmatic and had been given a nebuliser in the past by doctors at the practice in similar scenarios, Jill was shocked when she received the phone call from the receptionist.

"I got a phone call saying, 'the doctor says no, go on to A&E'.

"I was so cross, I can understand with the Covid situation but she is a minor who couldn't breathe. "With all the PPE and everything that was got for the health service, none of them made an effort to come out to the car, to even put down the window, look in to her, speak to her and say, 'yes definitely, this child needs to go to A&E' or offer me any type of support," said Jill, who explained that the health centre staff didn't offer to call an ambulance or rapid response vehicle for her daughter.

She added: "To me it was as if she was being neglected."

Seeing no choice but to drive her daughter the 13.5 miles from Lisnaskea Health Centre to the South West Acute Hospital (SWAH), Jill's worst nightmare was realised when Katie became unresponsive en route.

"She had basically passed out, she was gasping for breath at this stage," said Jill, who had to decide whether she should pull in and call an ambulance or carry on with Katie to A&E.

Believing it would be quicker to carry on, Jill kept driving.

"I just felt as if I wasn't even in my own body. I just kept driving. I put on my hazard lights and just went down the road," she said.

When she arrived at the Emergency Department at SWAH, Jill was assisted almost immediately.

"I jumped out of the car, leaving the door open and went in to the Emergency Department saying, 'please someone come and help me, my daughter, she has Covid, she's asthmatic, she's not breathing properly and she's no longer responsive," she said, noting that the receptionist told to make her way to the door and someone would be with her.

"By the time I got out to the door, [there was a] paramedic, a man with a trolley, a doctor and a nurse," said Jill, who was very grateful for the care her daughter received at the SWAH: "I just cannot praise the emergency department enough in SWAH, they were excellent."

"When we landed in to A&E, they couldn't get her awake. They had her and she was wired up. They said, you have a very sick wee girl here.

"I didn't think her mask was on her properly because it was blowing around her but they said, 'no, we have to hit this girl very fast and hard because her lungs are not expanding'," said Jill of Katie's condition adding: "The way they described it to me was between the migraine, the Covid and the asthma, her body had went into what they would call like a stroke. She had no control or no strength left in her body because she had gone that far."

Fortunately, after being nebulised three times, Katie was able to go home from hospital late that night.

Commenting that her daughter's situation was "so avoidable", Jill said: "Before Covid came in, when Katie would suffer with her chest, I would put her in the car, no questions asked, straight down, they would nebulise her there and then."