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Phyllis reveals struggle to find carer for her ill husband on TV


Phyllis Masterson

Phyllis Masterson

Phyllis Masterson

A woman appearing on the documentary Inside St James's has told of her trouble at finding a carer for her late husband.

Phyllis Masterson (72) features on tonight's episode of the series when she takes her husband Noel (78) to St James's Hospital.

Mr Masterson had Alzheimer's disease but his wife was concerned there was something else wrong with him as he was "deteriorating by the day".

"I was his full-time carer. He had Alzheimer's for a good few years but I was only getting the carer's [allowance] for a year and a half because I didn't know I could get it," she said.

Ms Masterson, from Crumlin, said she contacted the HSE about organising at-home care for her husband.

They told her they would send a carer to the couple's home for 30 minutes a day, which she felt was inadequate.

"They didn't listen to me and they wouldn't give me a carer.

"I got the allowance but they wouldn't give me a carer to come into the house," she said.

"The social worker said, 'we'll give you 30 minutes a day'. It took me 30 minutes to even get him to sit up.

"It was a woman. My husband was 78, he was old stock. He wouldn't have a woman in his bedroom. She never came.

"There's a lot of people around like me. I'm not the only one."

On the show, Ms Masterson takes her husband to the hospital where they meet an outpatient doctor.

"It was tough, it really was. I knew there was something wrong. I was choking him by feeding him meat and chicken and he should have been on a liquid diet," she told the Herald.

Ms Masterson said she later discovered her husband had motor neurone disease, and he passed away in June.

"I want a light to shine on this. I just think it's terrible the way people like me are left," she said.

A spokesperson for the HSE said they do not comment on individual cases.

The Herald also contacted St James's Hospital for comment.

Also on tonight's show is Clondalkin woman Andrea Devine (31).

She was diagnosed with breast cancer after finding a lump in her breast. Upon diagnosis, it was discovered that she carried a rare gene mutation, BRCA2.


If she were to just have her lump removed, the chances of her cancer returning were high - so she chose to have a double mastectomy.

"I didn't even have to think about it. I was like, 'yeah, do it'. To be honest, I wasn't really nervous.

"My daughter Holly at the time was only one and I just kept thinking of her. The big worry was lifted off my shoulders," she said.

The surgeons used living tissue from her back to create new breasts, and she has no regrets.

"The surgery finished at 9pm and I was up out of bed at 8am the next morning," she added.

Inside St James's airs tonight on Virgin Media One at 10pm.