Saturday 10 December 2016

HSE chose the slowest transport option available

Published 05/07/2011 | 05:00

A LACK of transport was not the reason Meadhbh McGivern missed out on her chance to get a life-saving liver transplant in London over the weekend.

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A jet brought President Mary McAleese back to Baldonnel Airport at 10.30pm on Saturday.

The offer to transport Meadhbh and her family to King's College Hospital London once it had arrived back in Dublin was made by the Air Corps at 7.55pm that evening.

The HSE last night refused to say why it did not accept the offer.

Instead -- along with the Emergency Medical Support Service (EMSS), the company contracted to arrange transport -- its ambulance section spent several fruitless hours at Sligo Airport, which resulted in Meadhbh being left stranded.

Yesterday, it emerged there were other options.

Nursing administration in Our Lady's Hospital for Sick Children in Crumlin sourced a private plane but needed to check for funding approval before going ahead with the booking. A hospital spokesperson yesterday denied a lack of money was as an obstacle.

The RAF was also alerted and there was a possibility one of its aircrafts could have been found.

Instead, Meadhbh was left to the mercy of a Coast Guard helicopter, which was not ready to take off from Sligo until 11pm but would not make it to the UK until 3.30am.

On the surface it's not for the want of energy and effort that Meadhbh ended up back on the waiting list but the extent of the bungling will have to be uncovered in the inquiry set up by Health Minister James Reilly.

The task of securing airplanes is given to people, who the public hope, have expertise in sourcing aircraft. In this case, those in charge chose the slowest of all the forms available.

There have been no previous reports of similar incidents.

Irish Independent

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