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Air team were ready for liver dash Meadhbh

AN AIR ambulance service was ready and able to take Meadhbh McGivern to London for a liver transplant -- but the HSE failed to make contact.

Dublin-based AeroMedevac Ireland has revealed its crew were "available and in a position to dispatch" had they received a call on time.

Meadhbh's family were contacted by London's King's College Hospital on July 2 and advised to get there as quickly as possible as a liver was available for transplant.

But the failure by the HSE National Ambulance Service to organise suitable transport meant the 14-year-old missed out on the life-saving operation.

Meadhbh has spent two years on a waiting-list for a liver.

The organ was given to another patient. A subsequent investigation by the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) found no one person was in charge of travel arrangements and the system was not reliable.

Now, AeroMedevac's Keith Trower said his company "did not receive any contact from anybody".

"On the day in question when Meadhbh McGivern so sadly missed an opportunity for transplant surgery, our aircraft and flying crew were available and in a position to dispatch had we received a call in a timely fashion," he wrote in a letter published today.


He said the jet air ambulance service has been busy "providing transport for sick patients" since it began operations in March.

"Our mission is to provide support to those who become ill or injured and will benefit from aeromedical transportation," Mr Trower stated.

The company uses a Cessna 550 Citation II air ambulance, the letter in the Irish Times added.

The family was notified at 7pm on July 2 that the organ was available. At 11.30pm that night, she and parents Joe and Assumpta were ready to board a Coast Guard helicopter at Sligo Airport to fly to London for the procedure.

However, the flight was stood down as it was too late for the surgery -- it would have taken four hours to travel because of refuelling requirements and the hospital had a 2am deadline.

The HIQA report highlighted a series of errors, including the mistake of instructing Meadhbh and her family to remain at home and not travel to Dublin.