Sunday 24 September 2017

GP told mum to hand over ring before he would treat her son

Reilly stand-in wanted jewellery as guarantee

Antoinette McLoughlin with her son Michael at home last night
Antoinette McLoughlin with her son Michael at home last night
James Reilly: confirmed the incident took place

Eilish O'Regan Health Correspondent

A GP WHO was providing cover for Health Minister James Reilly when he was a family doctor demanded the mother of a disabled boy hand over her jewellery when she could not produce her medical card.

The startling revelation was made last night by Antoinette McLoughlin, of Reamount Road, Lusk, Co Dublin, who said she had to give the GP her eternity ring to ensure her son, who had an epileptic seizure, was treated.

A spokesman for Dr Reilly confirmed the incident took place but denied he asked Mrs McLoughlin not to go public about it when it happened in 2006.

The GP, from a private agency, was providing evening and night-time cover for Dr Reilly and other surgeries in north Dublin at the time.

Mrs McLoughlin, a mother of three, told the Irish Independent that her son Michael (17) -- who has suffered from fluid in the brain and epilepsy -- suffered a seizure at around 9pm on the night of the incident and she rushed him to the doctor's clinic in Skerries.

Upset

"I was there with a friend of mine and both of us were in pyjamas. He asked me for my medical card and I told him I did not have it. He said I would have to pay a fee. I told him I did not have my purse with me.

"He refused to see my son on the ground I did not have the medical card or cash with me," said Mrs McLoughlin, who first aired her story on the David Harvey show on Classic Hits 4FM.

"He told me I would have to give him something and said I had plenty of jewellery. I had my wedding ring, engagement ring and eternity ring. I gave him the eternity ring. He said he would give it back when I could give him the card number. Only then would he treat my son.

"The next morning he came to the house with the ring and I refused to take it back so he posted it through the letter box."

She said she was so upset by the experience she rang the Irish Independent to highlight the case but was contacted by Dr Reilly who was abroad and asked not to go public.

A meeting took place at Dr Reilly's surgery in Lusk where the GP who had demanded the jewellery was also present.

"I wanted the doctor struck off. I did not want him to be a danger to other people around the country," she added.

A spokesman for Dr Reilly said he had arranged for the meeting at his surgery and the GP who asked for the jewellery "apologised profusely".

Asked if Dr Reilly reported the doctor to the Medical Council he said it was a matter for the patient to make a complaint in this instance.

"Mrs McLoughlin has remained a patient of Dr Reilly's surgery and he is baffled that she should take this stand at this stage," he added.

However, Mrs McLoughlin and her husband Michael said last night they were prompted to ring the radio station after hearing of the potentially drastic cuts which were outlined by Dr Reilly, including a possible €50 fee annual fee for medical card holders and increased prescription charges.

Irish Independent

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