Monday 16 September 2019

'By Christmas Eve he was on life support' - What started with a cold turned into a horror battle for Dáire (7)

Daire battled with meningococcal septicaemia
Daire battled with meningococcal septicaemia

Liz Shortall’s son Dáire suddenly fell very ill last Christmas. Thankfully he’s well on the mend, but spent a lot of time in Dublin’s Temple Street Children’s University Hospital during his illness. Here Dáire’s mother shares his story.

“Our son Dáire is 7-years-old. After having a cold for a week and a half he developed sinusitis, which on Christmas Eve led to group A strep — meningococcal septicaemia — in a matter of only a few hours. He was rushed to ICU in Temple Street Children’s Hospital in an induced coma. He spent five days on life support in a critical condition, and we did not know if he would make it or not.

He woke up from his coma and we thought he was on the mend, but group A had been so devastating to his body that by the end of his stay in Temple Street. He had undergone three brain surgeries (two of which were emergencies), eight blood transfusions, — he had developed antibodies in his blood — and developed a very rare blood disorder (there’s only been 84 cases of it — ever). Then he had a drain fitted on his brain, which then led to a VP shunt being fitted. Dáire also had four seizures and is now being treated for epilepsy. He was rushed to ICU a total of three times.

He spent almost two months in Temple Street and only got to open his Christmas presents in February when he got home. He is still out of school and has a long road of rehabilitation and recovery ahead.

When he was in hospital, it was such a traumatic and very stressful time that he has been having nightmares ever since and he was under the care of the psychologist in Temple Street.

Dáire absolutely loves Lego, he says that building the Lego sets that Temple Street gave him really helped him during his stay. He calls himself a “Lego Master Builder” and his wish is to get to Legoland this year.

Daire (7) with Brian O'Driscoll and Warren Gatland during his recovery in Temple Street Children's Hospital.
Daire (7) with Brian O'Driscoll and Warren Gatland during his recovery in Temple Street Children's Hospital.

The Temple Street hospital and its staff are amazing and without their help we wouldn’t have Dáire here with us today. In 2010 we lost our youngest daughter Bláithín and we really couldn’t bear thinking about going through an experience like that again. Thanks to Temple Street and its staff we don’t have to.”

Temple Street is an acute paediatric hospital, originally founded in 1872. It cares for 150,000 children a year, including over 55,000 who attend the emergency department, making it one of the busiest in Europe.

Since 2000, the Temple Street Foundation has been raising funds for the hospital. This year they are fundraising to help purchase essential equipment that will benefit the wards, theatres and ICU.

The highly specialised equipment used by the hospital needs to be kept up-to-date and replaced or upgraded regularly to ensure it can take care of children like Dáire.

For more information go to


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