Thursday 18 July 2019

Mother: GP crisis saw baby at death's door

Sonata Mycko and her four-month-old daughter Meta Kairytee
Sonata Mycko and her four-month-old daughter Meta Kairytee
Sonata Mycko and her four-month-old daughter Meta Kairytee

David Looby

A local mother who could not get a GP in New Ross for two years - including in recent weeks for her seriously ill daughter - has finally won her battle for healthcare.

Sonata Mycko, 31, from Barrow Hall, Mount Garrett, moved to New Ross two years ago and tried to get a GP for her son Gustaf but was unable to.

She tried all doctors surgeries in the area, including in Waterford, but was told that she could not get one there as she was a County Wexford resident.

She then tried three GP surgeries in Wexford town, but was refused at each turn.

Sonata, 31, welcomed her daughter Meta into the world less than five months ago.

Born a healthy child, Meta developed silent reflux leaving her severely short of breath.

'She would turn blue in my arms. Can you imagine trying to care for a child who can't breathe and is turning blue. I was living in fear of my baby dying,' Sonata, who is originally from Lithuania, said. Sonata, who doesn't drive, eventually had no choice but to bring Meta to A&E where she got rolling appointments every three weeks for prescriptions and check-ups.

'She is still on medication and will recover, hopefully, by 18 months. I was sent an email today (Monday) that I have been assigned a family doctor after two years as I applied for a GP Visit Card.'

Sonata said she was told in no uncertain terms by a HSE nurse that the care of her daughter was up to her having pleaded for a doctor for a prescription for Meta a few weeks ago.

'It has been so hard. I don't mind having to wait for a doctor for a small matter but when it's life and death. Meta was hospitalised three times and I didn't have a GP or anyone around me to help me to manage the prescriptions and tell me what to do. I was literally giving a five week old baby a tablet. I eventually found out what to do with silent reflux babies on an Irish Facebook page because I was abandoned by the health service here.'

Sonata lived in Dublin for 11 years prior to moving to New Ross and had no problems accessing a GP there. 'It never happened to me there. I never imagined a system like this could exist in the 21st century. It was far easier to get good healthcare in Lithuania.'

She said: 'My baby was born and needed a prescription but there was nowhere to get one. I ended up having to go to CareDoc which is for emergencies.'

Meta had to wait 16 weeks for her injections because she had no GP, when she should have gotten them after eight weeks.

'I also have a seven-year-old son who would have had temperatures over the past few years and I had to take him to CareDoc.'

In June this newspaper highlighted how some GP surgeries in the area are telling patients they have to wait up to six weeks to be seen and newcomers that they cannot come under their care.

A crisis situation has emerged whereby doctors are overworked.

In a letter to New Ross Municipal District Council - following a request for an update on the lack of GPs working in the New Ross area on foot of the article - the Head of Primary Care Service in the area said there are six GPs working in the town and surrounding areas, including one GP working independently in New Ross, one working independently in Rosbercon and four work in the North Gate Medical Centre. The HSE statement said the organisation has received no formal notification of any impending resignations or retirements in the area at present. 'If the HSE receives a resignation or retirement notice the normal recruitment process will commence to ensure normal GP numbers are maintained.'

New Ross Standard