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Friday 23 March 2018

Transplant teen hospitalised as condition worsens

Edel O'Connell

A TEENAGER who missed out on a liver transplant when the authorities failed to get her to a London hospital on time has had to be hospitalised for eight days to manage her severe pain.

Meadhbh McGivern (14), from Co Leitrim, was finally discharged home on Saturday after spending eight days hooked up to an IV morphine drip at Crumlin Hospital when her condition worsened to the point that her parents could no longer manage her pain at home.

Meadhbh, who has a rare liver condition, was called for transplantation to Kings College Hospital in London on July 2 of this year but the authorities handling her transportation failed to get her there on time.

She has spent more than two years on a waiting list -- the longest a paediatric patient has ever waited for a transplant in this country.

Now her father Joe has expressed his anguish that he and his wife are being forced to stand by and watch their daughter's health deteriorate further.

Meadhbh is now bedbound at home and on morphine to control her pain. Her worried parents do not envisage she will be returning to school unless she gets a transplant.

"Meadhbh is in much more pain now than she was. She just spent eight days in hospital. We were trying our best to manage it at home, but she deteriorated to the point that we were forced to bring her to Crumlin Hospital," he told the Irish Independent.


"It is just a waiting game now until she gets the call for another transplant. We will have to do our best to make her as comfortable as possible until then."

A HIQA report into the circumstances of Meadhbh's aborted transplant, published last month, criticised the fact that there was no single authority in Ireland tasked with organising emergency air transport for those who may need it.

Now, more than two months on from the scandal, the Department of Health have said a "draft implementation plan" for the setting up of a national centre to co-ordinate all ground and air travel for transplant recipients was submitted to HIQA last Friday for review.

However, the department did not provide a timeframe as to when the centre would be up and running.

On the night of July 2, Crumlin Children's Hospital had sourced a private flight to bring the teenager to London for her transplant -- but ultimately it was unable to pursue its plans.

Meadhbh's chance at a new life was lost because a Coast Guard helicopter was sourced and those in charge of her transport underestimated the time it would take this aircraft to reach London. The donor organ was given to another recipient.

The Department of Health said it has now appointed the National Ambulance Service (NAS) as the single point through which requests for an aircraft for transportation are made to either the Air Corps or Coast Guard.

It added that the Air Corps and Coast Guard have also committed to confirming aircraft availability to the NAS within 15 minutes of a request for transportation.

Irish Independent

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