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‘This is life-changing’: boy’s heel is ripped apart on security gate

Housing association ‘sorry to learn’ of incident as it removes concertina doors

31 July, 2020 — By Sam Ferguson

Corinne Okorodudu with her son Blake

THE family of a five-year-old whose heel was sliced off by an external gate fitted between their kitchen and living room says her housing association landlords took too long to act.

The gate – the sort usually fitted externally – was installed as a makeshift solution as Blake Okorodudu-Ross kept climbing over a traditional baby-barrier to get into the kitchen as a toddler.

He had been sitting in the kitchen last month when he got up to run into the living room. But, as he raced past the dividing gate he caught his trailing foot on a sharp raised section, which cut clean through his heel.

“My daughter was crying and Blake had come out to see what was wrong,” said his mother Corrine Okorodudu.

“When the paramedics arrived, they were so shocked at the injury and the amount of blood. I was covered in blood. We went with him into the Whittington, and he was there for 10 hours.

“Then as we were leaving, he started bleeding heavily again, so we had to go back in for another five hours.”

Over the following weeks, the family took Blake to the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead for skin-graft treatment.

“This is a life-changing injury for him,” said Ms Okorodudu.

Blake’s injured heel

“The skin on the heel is very different, and he will need to constantly keep this injury moisturised for years, if not for his whole life.

“It’s been so hard during lockdown to keep him off his feet, and he had dealt with so much already given his autism and what has been going on around him for the last few months.”

The family say they could not believe it when housing association Clarion did not remove the gate immediately after the accident. It took nearly a month for contractors to remove it.

Ms Okorodudu said: “I want an apology, and I want a safe barrier installed. There needs to be a barrier there but that gate was dangerous, and they should have removed it straight away. I had one text message from Clarion before the gate was removed, despite calling and emailing every day.

“We have taken legal advice, as we don’t think they should be allowed to get away with this.”

After being contacted by the Tribune, Clarion apologised to the family, and vowed to look at the situation again.

“We were very sorry to learn of this accident and wish the child a full recovery,” a spokesman said.

“The safety and wellbeing of our residents is our top priority and no issues with the concertina door had been reported to us before the accident sadly occurred.

“When we received the report of the accident, a Clarion operative visited the property and carried out an inspection. Given the bespoke nature of the equipment we could not make any alterations immediately, but we will now work with an occupational therapist to complete an urgent assessment of the needs of the family.”

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