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Sunday 26 March 2017

Quadraplegic fights HSE funding cut

Aoife Finneran

AN Irishman who is receiving treatment in Germany for a rare illness is seeking to compel the HSE to continue paying for his treatment.

Paul Flood (55) has been left quadraplegic and has lost motor function after developing a rare genetic condition that affects his brain stem. He was diagnosed with the condition after being taken to hospital while on holiday in Germany in 2002.

Since then, he has been receiving treatment in Germany which is paid for by the HSE under EU law. The treatment costs between €60,000 and €75,000 per year.

However, on November 25 last, Mr Flood was informed in a letter from the HSE that the funding was to be cut by 83pc. The HSE also informed Mr Flood it would provide €2,500 over the next three months towards his medical costs.

It is claimed Mr Flood has been left upset and greatly distressed by the decision and that the HSE has not given any rationale for it.

The court also heard that doctors in Germany have expressed their concerns, as the HSE's decision also means Mr Flood is not covered in the event of an emergency.

Mr Flood has limited use of his arms and hands, is wheelchair-bound and requires regular blood monitoring. Prior to his illness, he worked in television and media, and the treatment he receives allows him to live semi-independently.

His barrister Frank Callanan SC said that since contracting the condition, Mr Flood has been living in Germany with his partner. He said that in 2006, Mr Flood began investigating a return to Ireland.

However, he said the only option that appeared available would involve fully institutionalised living and a loss of any form of independence he currently enjoys.

He added that it would cost the State more to provide treatment for Mr Flood in Ireland that it does in Germany.

Mr Flood, with addresses at Rivercourt, Camac Close in Dublin 8 and Lippestrasse, Dusseldorf in Germany is seeking orders from the court requiring the HSE to provide funding to the German authorities for the provision of medical services and therapy he has been getting.

Mr Justice Michael Peart granted leave to bring the proceedings and the matter has been returned to a January date.

Irish Independent

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