THE mother of a young girl who has cerebral palsy and problems with her heart and lungs has revealed that she has yet to be issued with a medical card, despite the fact that little Thea has visited the doctor 21 times in the space of five months.
Marie Brennan said she had to bring her daughter to the GP and hospital 23 times between November and February and that she was still waiting to be issued a medical card – despite the fact that she applied almost three months ago.
The 20-month-old girl acquired a brain injury at birth, and has since had complications with her heart and lungs, as well as living with cerebral palsy.
She said that her husband Lorcan was now the sole bread winner as she was forced to give up work to care for their youngest daughter.
"We have a long-term illness card and we got that from the hospital and they organised that when we left, but that covers nothing," the 39-year-old said.
"So we still pay for the GP – €65 a go – and every time we go to Crumlin to A&E we pay €100."
The Killiney resident said that she first applied for the medical card for Thea's essential medical care in March, and has since had just one correspondence from the HSE, simply requesting further information.
She was speaking yesterday outside government buildings at the first peaceful protest from the 'Our Children's Health' campaign.
Among the supporters was Sinn Fein health spokesperson Caoimhghin O Caolain, accompanied by new MEP Lynn Boylan.
"We are very much aware of the issues around medical cards for very sick children," Ms Boylan said.
"Any support we can give the parents we just will."
A spokesperson for the HSE last night said that they "cannot comment on individual cases".