Meadhbh may be home in week
But national centre to coordinate transport of sick children misses deadline
TEENAGER Meadhbh McGivern, who underwent a second-chance liver operation after missing out on a transplant three months ago, could be out of hospital by next week.
Her father Joe, from Ballinamore, Co Leitrim, yesterday said he was delighted to have his daughter back on home soil.
Meadhbh (14) is in Crumlin Hospital in Dublin until she is well enough to be discharged.
And he said that her condition had been "touch and go" on a couple of occasions during her 14-hour liver transplant in London on September 15.
He made his comments as it emerged that a national centre to co-ordinate the air transport of sick children recommended after a botched attempt to fly her to the UK won't be up and running until the end of this year. It was supposed to become operational today.
Meadhbh was considered well enough to be transferred to Dublin from King's College Hospital in London on Monday evening.
Fears she would have to return on a commercial flight were assuaged when the Air Corps Learjet was provided for her transfer to Crumlin Hospital.
Her case sparked controversy in July after she missed out on a liver transplant when the authorities in charge of her transfer failed to organise transport in time for her to get to London.
Health Minister James Reilly subsequently ordered an inquiry by the Health Information and Quality Authority into her case.
The central recommendation of that report was the setting up of a national centre to co-ordinate the air transport of sick children.
It should have been up and running this week but the go-ahead to hire the necessary expert staff was not given by the Health Service Executive until Friday last due to the moratorium on recruitment.
The Irish Independent has learned the centre will not be put in place until the end of the year at the earliest.
Speaking to the Irish Independent last night, Meadhbh's father said he was very disappointed the centre for co-ordinating the transfer of paediatric patients was not going to be set up within the deadline.