Tuesday 6 December 2016

Simon's all heart, but can't give blood - Health Minister declined to donate as he suffers from Crohn's disease

Published 11/11/2016 | 02:30

Health Minister Simon Harris could only look on as other Oireachtas members including Fine Gael TD Kate O’Connell donated blood in Dublin. Photo: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie
Health Minister Simon Harris could only look on as other Oireachtas members including Fine Gael TD Kate O’Connell donated blood in Dublin. Photo: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

Health Minister Simon Harris had his offer to give blood declined yesterday because he suffers from Crohn's disease.

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Mr Harris, who organised a bus from Leinster House to lead a group of TDs, Senators and Oireachtas staff on a special blood donation mission, was disappointed to be turned down.

However, his Crohn's disease - a long-term condition that causes inflammation of the lining of the digestive system - can lead to iron deficiency.

This can cause side-effects like anaemia, making sufferers unsuitable candidates for blood donation.

Fellow Oireachtas colleagues, including Fianna Fáil Dublin West TD Jack Chambers, Junior Health Minister Helen McEntee and Fine Gael Dublin Bay South TD Kate O' Connell passed the medical test and were eligible for donation.

Blood donation is an essential lifeline for hospitals. Mr Harris's delegation was aimed at getting more people to donate - only 3pc of the eligible population of Ireland actively give blood. "Yet one in four people will require a blood transfusion at some time in their lives," he added.

Irish Independent

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