Elliot Wheeler's parents Phil and Luella are looking forward to their son receiving the grommet surgery he needs. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
A Dunedin couple say it will be a false economy if savings
are sought through restricting grommet surgery.
Phil and Luella Wheeler are relieved their son Elliot (3) is
to undergo grommet surgery next Wednesday. Mrs Wheeler said
Elliot had had ear infections since he was a baby.
He had had multiple courses of antibiotics, sleepless nights,
a burst eardrum, blocked sinuses, and ''general misery'', Mr
The couple saw a specialist in July, who offered surgery, but
they chose to watch and wait a bit longer. In September, they
asked for the surgery, and have since been waiting for a
slot. Children only got one start in life, and it was cruel
to deny a procedure that could prevent learning and
behavioural difficulties, Mrs Wheeler said.
Mr Wheeler said cutting grommet surgeries would not result in
real savings. This was because of money spent on GP
appointments for ear infections, and the cost of the
As parents, they had lost sleep because of their son's
condition, which affected work productivity. There was also
the added social and economic cost of more behavioural
problems in children, he said.