Monday 23 October 2017

He was a baby when it was planned, but will be an adult by time it's built

Mark Hilliard

JAMES Mohan's parents were hopeful that when he got a little older he would be treated in a brand new children's hospital.

But now the 10-year-old, who has a serious heart condition, is unlikely to ever see the inside of the new facility -- because he will probably be an adult by the time it is finally built.

"We thought he could have been in his teens when he needed his next procedure and I thought, great, we will be able to bring him into a new hospital and not a dilapidated, old one," his mum Brenda said at her home in Cabra, Dublin, yesterday.

"I thought it was going to be fantastic, that there would be a new, clean environment for my child."

But as it turns out, James, like many children in Ireland, will have lived out his entire childhood while the State procrastinates over building a medical facility.

After his birth in November 2001, he was moved to Our Lady's Hospital for Sick Children in Crumlin because his arteries were back to front.

He had corrective surgery when he was just nine months old and a further operation when he was four.

And while the fourth-class student from St Brigid's National School in Castleknock, Dublin, lives a relatively normal life alongside his younger brothers Tom (8) and Andrew (4), he will require treatment for the rest of his life.

Like so many parents, Brenda and Shane Mohan praise the staff at Crumlin but remain increasingly frustrated by the conditions they have to endure.

"We would have been better off in the Third World in terms of sleeping conditions," said Brenda, a volunteer with the Heart Children Ireland charity.

"As adults we were sleeping on the floor and I got very sick. Now I have to bring in a camp bed."

The Mohans favour the Mater site, which was the location of the planned hospital turned down by An Bord Pleanala yesterday.

"For a group of people to turn around and say no -- they don't know what it's like for families who have sick children," said Brenda.

James himself is unimpressed. "After the whole experience (of being in hospital), I was just like, thank God I am home," he said. "They were going to build a new hospital and now they are not. Some of them are just plain crazy."

Irish Independent

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