Clinic funded in full by public brings joy to heart children
IT was the hardest of decisions – which of the seriously ill 25 children do you decide will get one of just seven heart monitors that are essential to monitor their condition?
Now, thanks to a new specialist €4.5m heart unit, nurses no longer have to make those tough decisions as there are enough monitors to go around.
Yesterday those who have been through Our Lady's Hospital in Crumlin recalled long months in cramped conditions.
Tara Moore had hardly recovered from giving birth to daughter Holly when she had to endure sleeping on a chair by her very ill baby's bedside.
The mother of three, from Co Offaly, travelled with Holly, who had a life-threatening heart defect, from Holles Street maternity hospital to Crumlin just five hours after giving birth.
Holly ended up having heart surgery at just three days old and her mother spent over four months in the cramped and outdated facilities in Crumlin, helping staff to look after her.
"You cannot sleep because of monitors going off," said Tara who has been back to Crumlin twice since as Holly – who will need a transplant – had two more heart operations.
Tara's plight was shared by more than 550 parents every year who had to sleep on chairs and hard floors.
But thanks to the generosity of the public, the days of tripping over equipment and ward gridlock are over with the opening today of the new heart unit.
The 25-bed unit, which offers mostly single state-of-the-art rooms, was built from public donations after the HSE pulled out of a promise to fund it in 2008.
Dr Orla Franklin – a paediatric cardiologist – said: "We used to have just seven monitors which had to be shared among 25 children. We fought over them and had to decide who needed them most."
Now there is a heart monitor in every room, she added as well as wi-fi.
David Petherbidge, a senior architect with RKD, designed the new extension and brought his hard-won knowledge to bear after helping to nurse his daughter Hannah in the old facilities for months.
Dr Franklin said there is also a play area for the first time for the children with €30,000 worth of special flooring to ensure none of the ill youngsters will be injured if they fall.