Daniel Hadlow, who was to have his spine straightened to relieve breathing difficulties caused by polio, made an arduous ferry trip to Southampton General Hospital from his home on the Isle of Wight. The boy, who sleeps in an "iron lung", was accompanied by a vanload of equipment, including respirators and ventilators.
After three days of tests, he was about to be taken to theatre when the operation was cancelled. He has been sent back home. A hospital spokesman last night confirmed that staff shortages were to blame.
Daniel's parents Louise and Mark, from Sandown, said yesterday that the last minute delay had left them distraught.
Vaughan Clark, hospital spokesman, said: "It is a major operation which needed a clear day and we have had severe pressures on the intensive care unit. I can see how distressing this must be for the family."
The hospital hopes to carry out the operation in August.Reuse content