His Son was Taken Off the Shield List, and Now They Feel Unprotected from COVID-19

As reported in the BBC; Aaron Bradley is concerned that returning to work will endanger his son’s health. This follows the Scottish governments decision to move his toddler off of the shield list. Classification matters – it determines whether the family can stay home and receive the social welfare provided by the state.

Fionn’s Health Conditions

Bradley’s son Fionn was placed on the shield list due to various rare health conditions: hyperinsulinism, hypopituitarism and heart issues. Hyperinsulinism is when a person has too much insulin in their blood, causing low blood sugar. This can cause weakness, irritability, confusion, shaking, tiredness, or seizures. Hypopituitarism is a rare disease in which the pituitary glands produce hormones abnormally, causing an imbalance in some of the body’s hormones which dramatically affect our experience. This can cause fatigue, weight loss, difficulty keeping warm, anemia, lowered sex drives, anemia, facial puffiness, less body hair, and more.

Off The Shield List, Back into the Workforce

Because Fionn was on the shield list, Aaron has been able to maintain strict health vigilance during the lockdown. As an assistance practitioner in Glasgow at the NHS Louis Jordan Hospital, Aaron’s job puts him at the epicenter of the pandemic.
Since the lockdown started though, Fionn’s shielding status enabled him and his family to take a leave of absence, because his work would likely expose him. Instead, Aaron has been working hard at home to care for his son’s extreme medical needs. This was important to him, as he’d already had a few close calls. He explained that his work had exposed him to the virus multiple times when he was administering ultrasounds. This put him at higher risk for contracting the virus- a risk he couldn’t take with his son at home.
However, now that the country has recategorized his son, Aaron is back on the frontline. This also means the state will withdraw their aid and food boxes that enabled the family to shield in place.  This is coming at the same time as his region, South Lanarkshire, has rising cases, such that they may be implementing level four restrictions soon. This would put him right back into the thick of things at work, as cases are swelling.
He said on BBC Radio, “It just came out of the blue. Basically they will take us off that same level of support. The reason it said was that children and young people were at a much lower risk of serious illness than adults.”

Health Status Categorization

Such categorizations are determined by the Scottish government, who recently recategorized Fionn because he is a child. Children tend to experience a lighter bout of the disease.
While the Scottish government has endowed some clinicians and doctors to remove patients from the highest risk list, this would be expected to first be done through communication with the family and other doctors. The country has been reviewing pediatric patients since more data has been collected on their age group. However, the Bradley family protests, while the whole age group may be at lower risk, Fionn has a unique situation for his age due to his multiple severe health impairments, and thus cannot be lumped in.
According to the BBC, the family has spoken with outside help and are planning to seek changes via a letter to the government of Scotland.

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