Friday 28 April 2017

'My son is suffering' - Family of seriously injured man slam red tape around private therapy sessions in hospital

Paul de Ferreira (34) sustained serious head injuries in an incident involving a quad bike in Clondalkin
Paul de Ferreira (34) sustained serious head injuries in an incident involving a quad bike in Clondalkin
Denise Calnan

Denise Calnan

A man has slammed the red tape in place that is making it difficult for his son who is recovering from a serious accident to receive additional private therapy in hospital.

Ronnie Spadaccini’s son Paul de Ferreira (34) sustained serious head injuries in an incident involving a quad bike in Clondalkin, Dublin on the afternoon of Saturday, October 8, 2016. 

The young mechanic was immediately rushed to Tallaght Hospital, before he was transferred to Beaumont Hospital’s neurological ward for extensive surgery.

Paul, who was transferred back to Tallaght Hospital following the operation, is now receiving one session of occupational therapy a week.

His father Ronnie told Independent.ie he is trying desperately to supplement the single session a week with a private therapist who could come into the hospital, but said “there are obstacles in my way”.

Ronnie said Tallaght Hospital told them “last-minute” their therapist would need to be garda-vetted for the hospital, despite her being garda-vetted for another hospital where she currently works.

"Our whole lives changed in that half an hour,” Ronnie said of the accident.

"Paul went into surgery in Beaumont. He was in an induced coma for four weeks.

"After five weeks, he was transferred back to Tallaght Hospital and he's been in Tallaght since.

"Paul requires occupational therapy and only gets it once a week. The occupational therapist told us he needs it twice a week. He still has some difficulties with his short-term memory.

"I've offered to get private therapy for Paul due to the lack of resources in the hospital.

"I arranged for a private therapist. She was meant to come in last Thursday but last-minute they told me she can't come in.

"They said she would have to be garda vetted for Tallaght Hospital, even though she is garda-vetted from another hospital where she has been working.

"My argument is if I'm willing to pay for an occupational therapist to give my son the treatment he needs, why is it being blocked over something trivial?,” he continued.

"Why did I only hear about it last-minute? It can't be an unusual case, that nobody has ever tried this.

"At the end of the day, my son is suffering.”

Paul is now waiting to return to Beaumont for another surgery which will add a prosthetic piece to his skull.

In the meantime, Paul’s father Ronnie, his wife Lisa and his siblings are all trying to help with different occupational therapy exercises, but Ronnie acknowledged their attempts are not enough.

"Since January, Paul has had occupational therapy just six times,” he said.

"Coming up to Christmas, he didn't have it at all because of the Christmas period.

"I've tried everything but there are obstacles in my way. Look, this may not help me or my son, but it may help somebody else.

"At the end of the day, Paul is still a young man.

"He is 34 years of age. He's worked all his life as a mechanic. He's paid all his taxes and look at what he's getting for it.

"The Government are robbing an ordinary, working person. His money's not going back into the health service."

Ronnie complimented the staff at Tallaght Hospital and said he wished to take the opportunity to thank them for their work and help. But he said Tallaght Hospital is not equipped for patients with head injuries.

"The nurses in Tallaght are fabulous to Paul. I understand what they have to put up with everyday.

“But they don't have a neurological unit in Tallaght, Paul is on an orthopaedic ward with a brain injury.

"It's hospital policy that you go back to the hospital you were initially brought to in the emergency,” he said.

"Paul was brought to Tallaght from the accident. We were told it’s because Paul was brought here first, that's the policy that he comes back here.

"This all comes down the HSE and the Health Minister.

"When your family is trying to bring in somebody, paying for somebody to come in and to give them the extra occupational therapy they need, they block it because of vetting. You'd think I just picked somebody up off the street,” he continued.

"The Beaumont hospital consultant saved my son's life. They had to put away a bit of his skull in order to let his brain swell on the day of the surgery and they saved his life.

"They said they did 80pc of what they could do and that he would come back for more surgery."

A spokesperson for Tallaght Hospital told Independent.ie; “In the interest of patient confidentiality, Tallaght Hospital cannot comment on individual cases.

“While the Hospital does not enforce policies on patients or families who wish to supplement care with external resources, garda vetting is a statutory requirement for all healthcare workers who provide an onsite service to patients in Tallaght Hospital.”

The HSE have been contacted for comment by Independent.ie

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