Sunday 20 April 2014

Epileptic woman denied vital care over postal delay

THE FAMILY of a young woman refused funding for life-saving epilepsy treatment because of a Christmas postal delay have hit out at "cruel bureaucracy."

Grainne O'Connor (27) had her appeal against a Health Service Executive (HSE) decision to refuse her funding for treatment in the UK rejected because her letter arrived seven days too late.

The delay was the result of the large volume of Christmas mail and of the Christmas holidays.

Grainne, from Shanagarry, Co Cork, suffers from chronic epilepsy.

Such are the strength of the seizures she suffers that there is a risk one may prove fatal.

Grainne has been visually impaired since birth.

Her father, Tom, said: "It is cruel, red-tape bureaucracy at its absolute worst.

"It isn't fair, it isn't right, and my daughter deserves better," he told the Irish Independent.

Grainne has been on a waiting list for assessment and treatment at Beaumont Hospital in Dublin for 27 months.

She was informed by the HSE on December 10, that her application for funding for overseas treatment had been refused.

She applied to travel to London for assessment under the Treatment Abroad Scheme (TAS).

The HSE ruling came despite the fact that her consultant neurologist, Daniel Costello, had warned that Grainne's situation was being exacerbated by "unacceptable delays in accessing the various investigations needed" in Ireland.

Grainne was allowed 10 days to lodge an appeal and mailed her documentation by registered post on December 20.

The relevant HSE department didn't receive the appeal until December 28.

The HSE said the appeal had been too late.

Now, however, HSE officials are to review the issue, and Ms O'Connor is hoping a meeting will be arranged within the next week.

Irish Independent

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