Saturday 25 November 2017

Consultant tried to contact Michael Noonan after seeing eye problem on TV

Michael Noonan with a black eye. Photo: Reuters
Michael Noonan with a black eye. Photo: Reuters
Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis (left) talks to Spanish economy minister Luis de Guindos as they stand next to Michael Noonan during a EU finance ministers meeting in Brussels yesterday. Photo: Reuters

Eilish O'Regan and Colm Kelpie

A conscientious hospital consultant made efforts to contact Finance Minister Michael Noonan after diagnosing he had a medical problem with his eye.

Mr Noonan underwent eye surgery at the weekend leaving him with swelling and a large bruise around his left eye.

The Department of Finance has declined to answer questions about the health of the minister as he attended a meeting of EU finance ministers.

But an eagle-eyed doctor spotted a problem a week ago when he saw TV footage of Mr Noonan attending another EU ministers meeting in Brussels.

Dr James Gray, an A&E consultant in Tallaght Hospital, sent a message on Twitter to Health Minister Leo Varadkar.

After seeing Mr Noonan on the RTÉ 'Nine O'Clock News', Dr Gray diagnosed he had a unilateral exopthalmus or proptosis, otherwise known as bulging of the eye.

"Is he aware of it do you know?" Dr Gray asked Mr Varadkar.

It is not clear if Dr Gray's diagnosis was brought to Mr Noonan's attention or if the Finance Minister was already due to undergo his procedure this weekend.

The eye operation is the second surgery the minister has had in the past year.

A spokesman for Mr Noonan declined to say whether the latest treatment was in any way linked to treatment he received last year for a cancerous lump on his arm.

Mr Noonan revealed last June that he had surgery and radiotherapy to remove a lump found on his right arm. He disclosed he had suffered from sarcoma, a rare form of cancer that grows in connective tissues.

He found the lump last February and had five weeks of radiotherapy in St Luke's Hosptial in Dublin to shrink the tumour and then underwent surgery to remove it. He was told the prognosis was good with a low risk of recurrence.

He went on to open the first meeting of the Irish Sarcoma group and called for a reorganisation of services to improve the care of patients with rare forms of the disease.

Mr Noonan took over from the late Brian Lenihan as Finance Minister in March 2011. Mr Lenihan was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in December 2009 and died on June 10, 2011.

In 2007, the late Mr Lenihan's brother Conor was diagnosed with parotid tumour after a specialist noticed a lump on his neck during a TV appearence.

READ MORE: Tale of a tumour, a surgeon and a very grateful minister 

Irish Independent

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