Wednesday 16 October 2019

Refusing to replace broken life-saving stroke machine is 'ridiculous', says survivor

Survivor: Rachel Corbally, from Naas, at the Beaumont Hospital protest. Photo: Mark Condren
Survivor: Rachel Corbally, from Naas, at the Beaumont Hospital protest. Photo: Mark Condren
Robin Schiller

Robin Schiller

A stroke survivor whose life was saved by a thrombectomy has said the refusal to replace a vital machine that performs the treatment is "ridiculous".

Rachel Corbally (48) suffered a stroke at her Naas, Co Kildare, home earlier this year and was rushed to Beaumont Hospital in Dublin.

Despite suffering a severe stroke, the thrombectomy - a clot retrieval treatment that restores the blood supply to a stroke patient's brain - meant she suffered no permanent damage and even managed to attend a job interview just days later.

However, the machine used for the treatment at the Dublin hospital has broken down on a number of occasions, and at times needs to be switched on and off again. Despite this, there are no plans to replace the equipment.

Ms Corbally said the replacement of the machine is a "no-brainer".

"For me it totally and utterly gave me back my life. I've had a stroke. Mine was quite severe, there would have been two things that would have happened if the machine was broken down for long enough.

"I'd have probably died or I'd have had at the very least had a severe disability.

"This is a life-saving machine and is a giver of quality of life back," Ms Corbally told the Irish Independent.

"It's ridiculous to say that a machine that provides so much life-saving, over 200 to 300 people a year, has to be switched off and switched on again.

"That anybody at any time can be on that machine and it fails, and there's nothing we can do. It's a no-brainer.

"I don't think it's even a question we should be asking. We shouldn't be standing here today, it's an easy decision," she added.

Ms Corbally joined other stroke survivors and members of the Irish Heart Foundation in a protest outside Beaumont Hospital yesterday afternoon.

Martin Quinn, from Co Tipperary, suffered a stroke more than five years ago while being interviewed on local radio and travelled to Dublin to support fellow stroke survivors.

"I suppose for me, thinking about it and putting myself back to where I was five years ago, it would make me very upset to find out there's a machine there that can help people (that was broken).

"There's great difficulty in getting after-stroke services…they're probably better in the cities but down the country it's a lot more difficult," Mr Quinn said.

The Irish Heart Foundation said the current machine has broken down while treating stroke patients and is so old that spare parts will not be available from next year.

Last year, 248 thrombectomies were carried out in Beaumont on patients from all over Ireland and a further 31 in Cork University Hospital.

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News