Sunday 19 November 2017

Boy directed to UK clinic for hearing surgery despite anonymous €20,000 donation

Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

A MOTHER has criticised the HSE over a decision that her deaf son must go to the UK for a life-changing operation despite an anonymous donor offering to pay for his surgery here.

Liam Cunneen McCormack (6) is profoundly deaf and was misdiagnosed at birth, not discovering the extent of his deafness until he was 17 months old.

His parents, Julie and Keith, were told a double bilateral cochlear transplant offers Liam the best chance of some form of hearing.

A top UK expert warned three years ago that treating Liam was “a matter of urgency.”

However, the Cork-based family was informed last December that because of funding issues between Beaumont Hospital in Dublin and the Health Service Executive (HSE), Liam’s second surgery could not go ahead.

Julie, who is also deaf, revealed that the family were astounded when an anonymous donor, deeply moved by Liam’s plight, contacted them over Christmas to offer to pay for the entire procedure at Beaumont.

This could involve a donation of €20,000-plus.

“We were so grateful for the offer after our very long struggle to get anywhere with the HSE. It was a dream come true,” she said.

Incredibly, the Glanmire-based family was then informed on February 27 that Liam’s procedure cannot go ahead despite the donor offering to cover all costs.

In a letter from Beaumont Hospital, seen by the Irish Independent, the family was told the precedent was unacceptable.

Julie said the family were stunned by the refusal and described it as “a stab in the heart.”

“We received the shocking news by letter….(we are) now expected to take Liam to the UK even though Liam would have to travel over by boat and stay there for six weeks. And then every follow-up appointment would also have to be carried out in the UK,” she said.

“This is a human being we are talking about, a little boy and his entire future. The surgery wasn’t there to help me but it is available now and Liam’s life can be changed. What the HSE are doing is absolutely inhumane,” Julie said

“This whole thing is an insult to us, to our son and to the donor who has so kindly offered to put forward this money. The children who are most vulnerable and most in need of HSE support are once again being badly let down.”

The HSE insisted individual cases are confidential.

Online Editors

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