A two-month-old baby boy is expected to undergo a heart transplant soon.
Little Rico Kelly is currently in Our Lady's Hospital for Sick Children in Crumlin and will be flown over to Great Ormond Street Hospital in London the minute a heart becomes available.
However, his anxious parents - Theresa O'Brien and Patrick Kelly - fear they won't be able to accompany him as they have no passports.
The family are now pleading to the Department of Foreign Affairs to speed up their passport applications.
Baby Rico is thought to suffer from cardiomyopathy, a weakening of the muscle around his heart.
His mum and dad are still waiting to receive their passports, which they only applied for on Monday when they found out their baby son would need to go to London for surgery.
Theresa said if she had her passport she would at least know she could travel with her baby son so that he wouldn’t be alone.
“It’s been miserable but at least if we had our passports he wouldn’t be on his own and one of us would be able to go with him,” said Ms O’Brien, who revealed they’ve had to borrow money from family members to help meet the costs.
“Every time I ring (the passport office) I’m being passed on to someone different. One of the nurses here said she write a letter for us explaining the situation.”
Already she’s had to travel to London to meet with the surgeon who will perform her son’s operation, provided a suitable donor becomes available and Rico is strong enough to survive the procedure.
The couple from Abbeyfeale in Co Limerick have not left their son’s bedside at the ICU of Crumlin Children’s Hospital where he was transferred when he became ill just three weeks ago.
A spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs said it would do its best to accommodate the family in the circumstances to speed up the processing of their passports.
Although they are staying in the parents’ accommodation at the hospital, Ms O’Brien has not been able to see her little girl Symone (5) because there is no provision for siblings to stay.
“I’ve only seen her once in the past three weeks when my mother brought her up at the weekend but she was crying going away.
“It’s like I’m not able to be near either of my two children and it’s torture.
“But the biggest worry at the moment is the passport and if I had that at least I’d know if we get the call we’d be able to go there fast,” she said.
The family is also hoping they can be accommodated at the Ronald McDonald House, which has family rooms, so Symone could be with one parent while the other is at the hospital.