'Instead of fighting, I can focus on my child'
THE mother of a young girl who lives with Down syndrome and multiple other conditions has expressed her relief after her nightmare battle to get her sick daughter's medical card back has come to an end.
Jackie Connolly, from Co Cork, whose daughter Katie also lives with asthma, juvenile arthritis and a heart condition, has said that their year-long battle to win back the young girl's discretionary medical card "was a lot of stress".
Last night she said that Health Minister James Reilly's announcement had come as "a huge relief" for the family.
"I will welcome it. It's a step in the right direction," the devoted mother said. "It's a huge relief for us. Katie is sick enough without us having to worry about that, worrying about whether or not we can take her to the doctor."
She said that instead of being embroiled in a constant battle with the HSE, she can now focus on her six-year-old girl and her health.
"Instead of fighting to get her medical card back, I can now focus on the child. It was a lot of stress. Dr Reilly has eventually been good and has come right," she added.
However, Ms Connolly said that she would now like to see some compensation being introduced for families around the country, as little Katie's annual medical bills could amount to about €7,000.
She added: "I would like to see the Government giving some sort of compensation back to the people, but I don't know how they would do it really. I'd like it done, but I can't see them doing that."
Katie was first given a medical card shortly after birth, but had been stripped of it last June.
When it was taken from her last year, the young child had just been diagnosed with painful juvenile arthritis which could potentially entail monthly visits to her GP, as well as occupational and speech and language therapy sessions.
Katie's mother said that the small amount of additional money the family will now have because they have been given their daughter's card back will be used for additional therapies to assist her, which are not covered by the HSE.
"For us it always boiled down to getting the best for Katie. It means now that we can spend the extra money on therapies," she added.