Friday 23 March 2018

Stroke almost killed my grandson, Dunphy reveals

Colette and
Dunphy with Braiden
Colette and Eamon Dunphy with Braiden

Shane Hickey

BROADCASTER Eamon Dunphy has told how his six-year-old grandson has suffered a stroke.

The soccer pundit last night criticised the failure of politicians to build a national children's hospital and also the lack of funding for medical facilities.

Dunphy's grandson, Braiden, was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, a condition where parts of the left side of his heart did not develop completely.

He had open-heart surgery when he was six months old.

Last month, the little boy went through his second major operation to deal with the problem, but doctors became concerned during the procedure and feared he would die.

Mr Dunphy said his life was saved when he was attached to an ECMO machine, which operates in a similar manner to a bypass machine and allows time for the heart to recover.

The machine was bought by Heart Children Ireland, a voluntary group, which raised the €200,000 needed to pay for it.

"He has survived. He nearly died and we are very happy. We are very aware that it was touch and go and it was only the dedication of the surgeon, the nursing staff in the intensive care unit in Crumlin (that achieved that)," he said last night.

"These people saved his life with the help of an ECMO machine that cost €200,000 which was bought by the parents. If that machine had been occupied that night, Braiden would be dead.

"So why are we there with the money that we have squandered in this country?"

The young boy, the son of Dunphy's daughter Colette, subsequently suffered a stroke after he was taken off the support machine, which has affected his mobility.

Braiden is going through intense physiotherapy at Our Lady's Children's Hospital in Crumlin, Dublin, where his mother stays with him at night.

Dunphy, who has consistently campaigned for funding for the hospital, said more money was needed to build an area in the facility where parents can stay overnight.

There had been consistent failures on behalf of the political system in establishing a new hospital specifically for children, he said, as well as building a new section in Crumlin for parents to sleep in while their children were being treated.

"Look at the terrible travesty over the siting of the national children's hospital," the broadcaster said.

"This should have been done years ago. My daughter went back to sleep on the floor (of the hospital) and she is going to be there for months.

"It is way down the priority list right now and parents have to fundraise themselves to buy an ECMO machine and valves that save children's lives. That is appalling."

Irish Independent

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