Parents describe 'living nightmare' as nine-year-old is left unable to walk from Long Covid

  • Nine-year-old Emily Saville describes the impact Long Covid has had on her life.

The family of a nine-year-old girl from Dorset say they've been left with no choice, but to register her as disabled, after Long Covid left her unable to walk unaided.

Emily Saville suddenly developed terrible pain in her legs after testing positive for the virus.

She was rushed to hospital and spent two weeks undergoing tests, but doctors could provide no explanation and no treatment.

Emily now uses a wheelchair and struggles to walk unaided. 14 months on, and Emily is still living in constant pain, and her daily struggles are affecting her mental health.

Speaking to ITV Meridian as part of a series of reports investigating the impact of Long Covid on children, Emily said: "It felt uncontrollable and like I was powerless over it.

"I've never felt that sort of pain before. And the pain has lasted until now, it's still going at the moment.

"Although I don't focus on the pain as much now, I feel it every day in my left leg, my back, neck and shoulders.

"Doing activities helps me focus on something else rather than the pain."

  • Emily was previously an active child, but now she isn't able to walk unaided.

Emily's parents realised she was not going to recover as quickly as they hoped.

They had another daughter and both worked and so they applied for her to be registered disabled.

Emily's dad Chris Saville said: "It's been a living nightmare.

"Seeing Emily go from a positive, happy, active normal nine-year-old, to being this little girl who can't move, and is in constant pain, and not being able to help her, makes you feel like a bit of a failure as a parent.

"It's been a horror story.

"The act alone of applying for help for Emily, and getting her recognised as disabled was heartbreaking.

"We were hoping she would just get her strength back, but that hasn't happened. Emily is still dealing with mobility issues.

"Her mental health has definitely suffered and the effect it's had on us as a family has obviously had an impact on her as well."

  • Emily's father Chris Saville describes the 'heartbreaking' decision to register his daughter as disabled.

Emily's mother Louise Saville described Long Covid as 'the worst experience of my life.'

"I went through a really dark period where I just felt helpless.

"I can't do anything to help you, I can't give you any medicine to make you better, and I can't wave a magic wand.

"And that's what you want to do as a parent. You want to help, and I still can't do anything.

"She's still not better, and we're now 14 months on and we're still battling, and still trying to fix it and we can't, and that's been horrendous."

Emily still finds life a daily struggle with her pain and mobility issues. Credit: ITV Meridian

14 months on, and life is a daily struggle for this once active nine-year-old.

"Managing the pain, and the tiredness and not being able to see my friends every day is hard, because I'm quite a social person and I don't like being by myself," Emily added.

"The negative thoughts in my mind upsets me.

"I have quite a bit of depression and anxiety and anger and all that sort of thing."

Despite living in constant pain, Emily has returned to school, managing her mobility problems, fatigue and the brain fog that comes with Long Covid.

  • Watch ITV Meridian's Stacey Poole's first in a series of reports on Long Covid in children.

The NHS has committed £90m for long COVID services during the 2022/23 financial year.

An NHS spokesperson said: “The NHS has invested £90 million over the last year and will invest an additional £90 million next year to support people affected by Long Covid, including specialist hubs for children and young people.

"Local teams are continuing to work hard to minimise any delays to assessment and treatment.

“Parents who are concerned about their child’s long-lasting symptoms following Covid should contact their GP for further advice and support.”

What is Long Covid and what are the key symptoms to watch out for? Credit: NHS UK/Canva

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