Monday 22 January 2018

Irish teen in Texas for cancer treatment makes it to hospital for blood transfusion after 15-hour wait

Cancer sufferer Shauntelle Tynan and her mother Leona, right
Cancer sufferer Shauntelle Tynan and her mother Leona, right

Denise Calnan and Laura Larkin

An Irish teenager who raised more than €700,000 for specialist cancer treatment in Texas made it to hospital after a 15-hour wait due to Hurricane Harvey.

Shauntelle (Shan) Tynan (19), from Co Carlow, is living in Houston, Texas, with her family as she gets treatment in her battle against a rare cancer, multi-system Langerhans cell histiocytosis.

She arrived in hospital after a 15-hour wait due to the extreme flooding in the US city after the historic storm left her stranded.

Her mother Leona Tynan said her admission to hospital came as a relief, as Shauntelle desperately needed a blood transfusion.

Shauntelle had a bad infection and had neutropenic fevers over the last few days, according to her mother.

"We have a great network of support here in Houston and all our friends pulled together making calls trying to get Shan transport.

"Fortunately, when the floods started to recede earlier, our friend Danny made a call and his friend Charles was able to get Shan to the hospital before we began to flood again," Ms Tynan told the Irish Independent.

"She is now at Texas Children's (Hospital) with my mother-in-law and is receiving morphine and fluids while they await her blood work.

"I am at our apartment with her younger siblings trying to keep them occupied and happy until the storm passes.

"It has been a very surreal weekend and we never imagined seeing the amount of flooding we did. We are lucky everything worked out but for many, including close friends, they have lost homes and cars and all their possessions."

Rescue services had urged people to get on top of their houses to avoid becoming trapped in attics and to wave sheets or towels to draw attention to their location.

Disaster

Flood damage from Hurricane Harvey may equal that from 2005's Hurricane Katrina, the costliest natural disaster in US history.

Hurricane Katrina resulted in more than $15bn in flood insurance losses in Louisiana and Mississippi that were paid by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), a federal programme that is the only source of flood insurance for most Americans.

The NFIP was already deeply in debt and will likely have to be bailed out again by US taxpayers, as it was after Katrina, to cover the bill for flood damage claims from Harvey.

Speaking on RTÉ Radio One's 'Today with Sean O'Rourke' yesterday morning before getting Shauntelle to the hospital, her mother said that until the storm hit the cancer treatment had been going well.

"We've been here a few months now and everything was going well as expected," she said.

"Shauntelle underwent her last bout of chemo, ending August 18, so this is the week that her blood counts are dropping by the hour, by the day.

"She's really unwell... She is in need of a blood transfusion and we're trying to get her to the hospital.

"Texas Children's Hospital are waiting for us, but our apartment complex is surrounded by five feet of water and nobody can get in or out."

Irish Independent

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