Sunday 19 January 2020

Minister 'should apologise for Eirin distress'

Lydia Cleary and her severely disabled daughter, Eirin, whose medical card was revoked in error
Lydia Cleary and her severely disabled daughter, Eirin, whose medical card was revoked in error

Mark O'Regan

THE mother of an eight-year-old girl who is profoundly disabled and in constant pain has called on Health Minister James Reilly to publicly apologise after the HSE "mislaid" her daughter's records which resulted in her medical card being revoked.

Eight-year-old Eirin O'Connor-Nolan, who has a chromosome disorder, has spent much of her life in hospitals after seizures and breathing problems.

Eirin, who cannot walk or talk, needs up to 45 injections and 18 boxes of medication every day.

For the past six weeks she has been receiving treatment at Our Lady's Hospital for Sick Children in Tallaght where she is regularly on morphine.

She suffers from a combination of disorders including hypotonia, global developmental delay and a rare combination of chromosomal disorders.

Despite this, a letter arrived last week informing the family that instead of the medical card they have held since their eldest daughter was born, they would have to rely on a GP card.

However, it has emerged that the letter was mistakenly sent due to an administrative error because records were not transferred from an office in Mullingar to Dublin.

Eirin's mother, Lydia Cleary (29), who is expecting her third child in two weeks' time, said her husband, Jason, was contacted yesterday to say the medical board were "unreservedly sorry" for the "administrative error".

Disgrace

"They've found Eirin's medical records that I sent in over the years in Mullingar – they were never transferred to Dublin and were lost," said Ms Cleary.

"It's a disgrace, and they're blaming an administrative error as the reason why her records never got to Dublin when they changed office in 2010.

"They said Eirin's medical card was taken away because they had lost her medical records but subsequently found them in an office in Mullingar.

"My daughter's life is in danger because of these cutbacks, which is not good enough when you have a severely disabled child.

"The man who called us today said he couldn't apologise enough for what had happened. But I want James Reilly or whoever is responsible to publicly apologise to Eirin for the distress this has caused.

"I haven't slept all weekend with worry, and the stress and panic have been unbearable.

"She's regressed so much in the past year."

Ms Cleary said Eirin has behavioural problems because she is unable to communicate with those around her.

Doctors believe she may be the only person in the world suffering from her disorder.

"They haven't found anybody like her," her mother said.

Irish Independent

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