Sunday 24 September 2017

Mum of sick toddler pleads with Health Minister to let her boy go home for Christmas

Miracle boy Liam Mac An Tsaoi with his mum Louise, dad John, and brothers Fiachna, bottom left, and Cormac, top right.
Miracle boy Liam Mac An Tsaoi with his mum Louise, dad John, and brothers Fiachna, bottom left, and Cormac, top right.
Liam Mac An Tsaoi and his mum Louise with a Dublin zookeeper.

Geraldine Gittens

The mother of a sick toddler who needs 24 hour care broke down in tears because she cannot bring her little boy home for Christmas.

Little Liam Mc An tSaoi was born prematurely at 23 weeks and has spent his whole life in Crumlin hospital and he now faces his fourth Christmas in hospital.

His mother Louise contacted RTE's Liveline desperate to get funding from the HSE and to beg Health Minister James Reilly to allow her to bring her son Liam home to Galway to be nearer his family.

Louise said her son remains in an isolation room in Crumlin Children’s Hospital – two years after Minister Reilly had promised her that Liam could go home.

Liam has undergone 15 life-saving operations since he was born, and weighing just one pound, in September 2012.

Louise, who is a qualified nurse, has written to TDs pleading with them to help her situation.

Kind hearted listeners who were moved by Louise’s story rang in to help the young woman.

One listener in Templeogue offered Louise her family home for the Christmas period so that Louise and her husband could be together while staying close to their son.

Liam requires round-the-clock care because he suffers from chronic lung disease, and he is fed through a tube.

Louise (46) and her husband Sean (50) had their hopes dashed again last week when promises from the HSE that Liam would be moved to Galway fell through due to a lack of funding.

“Really he should be home. The only thing that’s stopping him from coming home is a bed, one bed. Why can’t they even open one bed? …and eventually we’d be able to bring him home.”

Louise said today: “I’m doing all I can to give him a better quality of life… It’s a human right to be at home with your family. It’s our human right to have our baby and be a family.”

“We haven’t been a family in the last three years and it’s had an effect on us,” she stressed.

Louise spends up to three weeks at a time in the transitional care unit in Crumlin hospital, tending to her son’s needs.

All she wants now, is for Liam to be moved to Galway, and she says she will tend to his every need to avoid any strain on HSE resources.

“I’m a trained nurse. I’m there three years. People have often said to me, you’re qualified yourself now only you haven’t got the paper work.

“I have done all of his cares and I know exactly what to do.”

Colin Farrell has visited Liam in Crumlin hospital over the last few Christmases, but Louise hopes he doesn’t need to visit Liam this Christmas.

“Colin Farrell has been in for three years and Liam is his buddy,” she said. “Colin has been brilliant with Liam and always makes a special effort to visit his isolation room even when he has been told that he’s not supposed to be there.

“He said ‘excuse me but I have to go and see him’, and last year he said, ‘Louise I’ll be in next year’…and I said, ‘Colin, as much as I love seeing you, I really hope I don’t see you next year.”

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