Monday 18 December 2017

Dying man's wife told he was blocking a bed that could save a life

Sally and Andrew Lydon: ‘I had to plead for his life’
Sally and Andrew Lydon: ‘I had to plead for his life’
Caroline Crawford

Caroline Crawford

A tearful mother has told how she had to plead for a critical operation for her terminally ill husband - because surgeons didn't want him to block a bed that could help save somebody's life.

Sally Lydon had to sign a document agreeing to bring her seriously ill husband Andrew, who has Motor Neuron Disease, home from University Hospital Galway today before surgeons agreed to carry out the operation at the weekend.

"He was struggling to breathe and wouldn't have survived without the surgery," said Ms Lydon.

"But one doctor told us he wasn't happy doing the operation as Andrew was taking up a bed that could save somebody's life.

"I asked him was Andrew's life not worth saving and he just said: 'He's got a terminal disease.'

"I had to plead for his life. I signed a document saying that I would take him out of hospital by Tuesday, which would have seen him go straight from ICU to home," said Ms Lydon.

But the father-of-two, whose family feared was simply being "sent home to die", received a last-minute reprieve after University Hospital Galway officials finally agreed at the last minute to continue to care for him in hospital.

His family say they feared the HSE was reneging on an agreement to fund after-care.

Mr Lydon's family have raised over €170,000 towards the cost of the care, which they were told could be €300,000 a year.

Last year the family were informed the care would be provided.

However, two weeks ago they received a letter from the HSE claiming the figure could be €700,000 a year - which it said would not be covered.

The vital tracheotomy surgery was only carried out after Ms Lydon signed the undertaking to bring her husband home from the ICU within days.

Over the weekend, the family desperately tried to arrange adequate home cover to provide Mr Lydon with the necessary 24-hour care, amid fears that he was in a weakened state after the operation.

They also feared that his carers would have had no opportunity to practise changing his tube in a home setting.

However, following a meeting with medical staff yesterday afternoon, the family was given a reprieve. Mr Lydon is now set to remain in University Hospital Galway for a further week before being transferred for two weeks' respite care in Merlin Park Hospital.

"We are absolutely delighted it has worked out but we went through desperate, needless worry over this on top of everything else we're going through," said Ms Lydon.

"Andrew can now rest easy and concentrate on recuperating," she added.

A spokesperson for the Saolta University Health Care Group said: "In the interests of patient confidentiality, we cannot discuss the detail of individual patient cases with the media.

"We can confirm that Saolta University Health Care Group is liaising closely with the Community Healthcare Organisation in relation to this case."

Irish Independent

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