Sunday 26 March 2017

Tributes to hospital staff who soothe patients and families in time of great need

Eoghan McManus (9) presents Deirdre Green with her Honour Your Hero award
Eoghan McManus (9) presents Deirdre Green with her Honour Your Hero award
Jennifer Delahunty, with her daughter Eva, as she presented physiotherapist Fiona Kinsella with her award. Photos: Robbie Reynolds
Marty Whelan with David McGuinness

Nicola AndersonNicola Anderson

They are the everyday heroes who quietly go about their work where it really matters - at the coalface. And there is no greater coalface than one of the busiest surgical hospitals in the country.

Last month, figures showed there were more people waiting on trolleys in Beaumont Hospital than any other medical facility in Ireland.

So it's fair to say that stress comes as part of the job for anyone who works there - from the surgical teams and hospital administrators to the nursing teams, catering staff and cleaners.

And while you could also assume that a patient might wind up as little more than a number, that could not be further from the truth.

Former patients of Beaumont Hospital returned yesterday to give a special thank you to staff who went above and beyond the call of duty in their caregiving at the annual 'Honour Your Heroes' reception, now in its fourth year.

Whether it was the vital medical intervention, the carefully watchful nursing, or the friendly face who soothed away the fears with the offer of a simple cup of tea, their kindness did not go unnoticed.

Broadcaster Marty Whelan was amongst them, as he paid tribute to the kind and sensitive hero who helped him handle the demise of his beloved mother Lily.

As an only child, the 'Winning Streak' star was thrown into turmoil when Lily (94) suddenly suffered a stroke in October 2013.

"We were plunged into a panic - I've never been in hospital in my life - and my mother had never been sick a day in her life," he revealed.

"It's the helplessness of it."

Lily lived for a day-and-a-half in Beaumont Hospital - during which time she had her 95th birthday, before passing away peacefully.

And while she received great care in general at Beaumont, the man who really made the difference was healthcare assistant in the A&E department Dave McGuinness (25), from Malahide, Co Dublin.

"It makes a big difference when someone is kind to you," said Marty, adding that it was the reassurances provided by Dave that made him feel better in the run-up to his mother's passing.

Dave has been a healthcare assistant for four-and-a-half years and said that while it had its ups and downs, he loved his job.

"How could you forget a face like that?" joked Marty, as the two got together for the first time in almost two years yesterday.

"We don't have an honours programme in this country, so this is a really nice way of paying tribute to everyday heroes who make a very special difference," said Marty.

Identical twins Noeleen Diskin and Helen Keogh, from Lucan, were there to say thank you to the hospital's chief medical scientist, Derek O'Neill, and the transplant team at the hospital.

After Helen developed kidney failure from Crohn's Disease, Noeleen immediately offered her twin a kidney. No conversation even needed to be had, they said. Because their bodies are identical both inside and out, the donated kidney was seamlessly accepted by Helen's body.

Grateful mother Pauline McManus, from Ballinasloe, Co Galway, whose son Eoghan (9) was rushed to Beaumont in May 2014 after a brain haemorrhage, also paid an emotional thanks to staff for the help they had given her family.

Eoghan had been helping his mother unpack groceries when he complained of a headache and his condition began to deteriorate. He was placed on life support within just 40 minutes of his headache developing and was rapidly transferred under garda escort to Beaumont, where he underwent surgery.

Back at school four months later, he has also recently made a return to the football pitch. Eoghan thanked healthcare assistant Deirdre Greene, saying: "She was always in good form and couldn't do enough for me."

Consultant neurosurgeon David O'Brien - who was thanked by patient Donall Carville from Armagh - said the emotional bond with patients was always there, despite the focus on targets.

"Sometimes we don't take a step back and say, 'we're doing a good job here despite the circumstances, despite the fact we've got huge demands on the service'," he said.

"I can't wait to show this to the wife," he finished, pointing to his special 'Honour Your Heroes' heart.

Irish Independent

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