All-clear for sick woman 'in limbo' to return
Published 02/07/2010 | 05:00
A seriously ill woman left bedridden in a Tenerife hospital after being repeatedly told there was no hospital bed available for her in Ireland has been told by the HSE that she can now come home.
Fiona Fitzgerald (53), an employee at Dublin's Coombe Hospital, suffered a brain haemorrhage on June 3, four days after arriving at the popular holiday destination for a week-long break.
Since then, she has been in an intensive care bed -- but her family desperately wants to bring her home in case her condition worsens.
On Wednesday, Ms Fitzgerald's sister Emer Dunne told RTE's 'Liveline' how her insurance company had been contacting Dublin hospitals every day since June 19, when doctors on the Canary Island said Fiona was in a stable enough condition to be transferred.
The family have been told there is a "serious crisis" with the availability of intensive care unit beds in the capital, leaving Fiona unable to return to Ireland.
But yesterday a HSE spokeswoman said that, after speaking with the family and their insurance company, arrangements had been put in place to bring Fiona back here, although it was still unclear when this would happen.
"Following the contact with the insurance company and the family, the HSE is satisfied that appropriate clinical arrangements have been put in place to ensure the patient's safe transfer back to Ireland," a statement from the health body read.
The news comes after Ms Dunne spoke of her concerns about her sister's chances of recovery.
"The problem here is that, at any stage, Fiona could take a turn for the worse; we still don't know if she's actually going to make it," she said. "Her lungs could fail, her kidneys could fail, anything.
"They (the doctors) have told us this and it is imperative that we get her home immediately while she's in a stable condition, because otherwise she could be stuck here forever.
"She has been sedated and on a ventilator for four weeks now and they can't remove that or even attempt to because she will need that for coming home.
"So she's stuck in limbo. She can't progress any further. Even if she can, we don't know if this is causing her any more damage. But they can't afford to take it off because she needs it to travel."