Wednesday 21 March 2018

Woman with CF 'left in intensive care for three weeks after long flight'

Lisa Talty (inset) from Co Clare was left on maximum life support after her flight to Sydney
Lisa Talty (inset) from Co Clare was left on maximum life support after her flight to Sydney

Cian Murray

A young Irish woman spent three weeks in intensive care after her lungs shut down following a long-haul flight.

Lisa Talty (25), from Miltown Malbay in Co Clare, ended up in intensive care in Sydney after travelling to Australia with her boyfriend earlier this year.

Ms Talty, who has cystic fibrosis (CF), started experiencing respiratory failure after her flight landed in Sydney.

She claimed this was due to being stuck on the plane for "over two hours" before take-off.

"I travelled here with my partner, Noel, on July 20, and by the morning of the July 23 I was in the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital here in Sydney on maximum life support," she said.

"While I do have cystic fibrosis, I was cleared by my medical team in Limerick to travel here and I passed all medical tests.

"I was as healthy as possible before I travelled here, yet when on arrival in Sydney I was beginning to go into complete respiratory failure.

"(The cause of) this has since been linked to the flight my partner and I took from Abu Dhabi to Sydney. The flight was delayed and remained at the gate, with the doors closed and the engine not running for over two hours.

"My lungs failed to cope with the massive influx of CO2 they were taking in and I got hypoxia. Essentially, I was poisoned with CO2.

"I have no memory of almost two weeks. I have been told that I spent those next two weeks on maximum life support in an induced coma.

"It took over 13 hours to stabilise me, during which time my partner Noel was told to inform my parents at home in Ireland of the seriousness of the situation."

The Clare woman added that the event affected her family greatly and she has to stay in Australia until further notice.

"I am still receiving follow-up care that is essential," she said.

"I am medically and legally unable to fly, which means I have to stay in Sydney indefinitely."

She added: "If it happened on the return leg of the journey, I would be dead.

"We just don't have the same facilities as readily available in Ireland."

The airline said that it is checking flight records for recorded incidents.

Irish Independent

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