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Tuesday 15 October 2019

Conditions in hospital's cancer ward were shocking, reveals Donal's dad

Donal Walsh
Donal Walsh

David Raleigh

THE father of the late inspirational teenager Donal Walsh fought back tears as he described the "shocking" conditions at Our Lady's Hospital in Crumlin which his son and the family endured for four torturous years.

In an emotional interview, Fionnbar Walsh spoke for the first time about his experience of conditions on the hospital's cancer ward.

The cancer ward, St John's, has since been completely renovated and was handed over to the hospital in recent days. The work cost €4m and was funded entirely from public donations.

Unfortunately, however, for Donal Walsh and his heartbroken family, the upgrading of the cancer wing was too late.

Mr Walsh said: "We are sleeping on cot beds. I'm 6ft 1in and most of the camp beds there are 5ft 6in. You are sleeping on that, beside your child, who is sick and receiving chemotherapy and sharing the room with another child in the same situation.

"The other child may be younger or older. There are machines beeping all night. The parents of the other child are sleeping beside their child."

He continued: "There was one parental shower, catering for 14 bedrooms.

"The 14 bedrooms catered for 23 people.

"There was one bathroom, which was there for the 23 kids."

The children's cancer ward now houses 19 bedrooms, all of which have en suite bathrooms.

There is a parents' room, a unit for teenage cancer patients, a new play zone for younger patients and a school room.

"The public toilet has also been upgraded," a spokesperson for the hospital said.

Commenting on the newly improved conditions, Mr Walsh said: "I think the improved conditions are very good, but it's a sad refection that the majority of whatever is being done is being done by contributions from charity."

He praised the staff at the hospital, whom he described as "a second family".

Mr Walsh was addressing students from eight Limerick schools, who have raised over €7,000 in Donal's name for the continued upgrade of the children's hospital.

Crumlin has now set up a web page dedicated to the memory of Donal Walsh.

* To donate to the continued upgrade of the hospital, visit www.cmrf.org or contact Lo-call 1890 507 508.

Irish Independent

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