A local Sinn Féin Senator has lashed out at the “appalling” manner in which the HSE treated a Motor Neurone Disease sufferer after he underwent emergency surgery.
Trevor Ó Clochartaigh has blasted the HSE for how they handled the case of 47-year-old MND sufferer Andrew Lydon who had a life-extending tracheotomy operation last Saturday.
The married father of two from Connemara was diagnosed with MND five years ago.
He has spoken publically about his battle with MND and has openly criticised the HSE in the past for their refusal to allow him to have a tracheotomy performed that will help extend his life.
The Andrew Lydon Trust has been set up to help raise funds for the procedure for the former computer programmer and the extensive aftercare that will be needed.
Last Saturday he had the tracheotomy operation in UHG, however according to Senator Ó Clochartaigh Mr Lydon’s family were put under “huge pressure” from the HSE who reneged on their promises to provide critical support for Mr Lydon following his operation.
Due to a deterioration in his condition Mr Lydon had his tracheotomy operation, however this was only done on the condition that the family take him home from hospital on Tuesday and take full responsibility themselves for his aftercare, Senator Ó Clochartaigh said.
The Sinn Fein politician said there was an “onus” on the family last weekend to train, source and hire suitably qualified people to care for Mr Lydon following the HSE’s stance.
“It had been agreed with the HSE that the Trust Fund would fund a portion of the aftercare cost and that they would provide the rest. They indicated it would cost in the region of €300,000 per year at that time and €130,000 plus was raised by the Trust Fund to start with,” Senator Ó Clochartaigh said.
“This week, when the aftercare decision needed to be taken, the HSE revised their figure to €700,000 and said they couldn’t afford it, so could not support the aftercare if the tracheotomy went ahead.
The hospital then said that they would not keep Andrew in hospital any longer than two or three days post-operation, leaving the family in an impossible situation,” he added.
Senator Ó Clochartaigh, who has been involved in Mr Lydon’s campaign for the past two years, said he believed the HSE wanted to “wash their hands of their responsibilities” in relation to Mr Lydon’s aftercare.
He called on the HSE to re-engage with the Lydon family and last Monday an agreement was reached following a meeting between HSE Management representatives and the Lydon family.
Speaking to the Galway Independent Senator Ó Clochartaigh said, “Basically they’ve done a U-turn because of the pressure they were put under.
“There is still a whole issue over how the whole thing was handled and how the family was treated was appalling to be honest.”
According to Senator Ó Clochartaigh UHG has now agreed to keep Mr Lydon in hospital for another week when it is expected he will then be moved to Merlin Park for a number of weeks before being transferred home where he will have 24-hour care.
“The family got what they were looking for and what they had initially agreed to so we’re just happy that the HSE has come to its senses really,” he said.
He said the family was “very relieved” but there were “lessons to be learned”.
“I think the way things were handled was appalling and I think it was appalling to put the family under such pressure last Friday and Saturday morning.”