The HSE and the Minister for Health must act immediately on the disgraceful neglect of a local man who is in agony every day and who has been all but abandoned by the system.
After a few years in politics and with experience of dealing with the HSE on tough cases, I didn’t think it was possible to be shocked by anything they could do. However, last Thursday evening as I sat on the ground beside a constituent with a spinal condition who was curled up in pain, I was genuinely ashamed to think that the HSE had failed a citizen in the way this man has been failed.
The state this man has been left in for nearly four years is nothing short of disgraceful. In the middle of the day he was curled up on the floor roaring with pain.
The organs of the state have let this man down to no end, and the political system that has created these failed institutions has a lot to answer for too.
I have been in contact with the hierarchy of the various hospital groups involved, the senior management of the HSE, and I have raised the issue with the Minister for Health. Action must be taken on this and it must happen immediately.
This gentleman has a complex medical history, suffering from severe back pain brought on by various conditions and now living every day in absolute agony.
I do not say this lightly but my heart bleeds for him. His treatment at the hands of the HSE is what nightmares are made of and that is no exaggeration. His family watch daily as their loved one suffers like no man I have ever seen.
Since March of this year, this man has gone without a consultant to plan for his care…simply receiving pain relief, which he has had to travel to Dublin for as the HSE will not provide care for him in Galway. His GP has done everything possible for him but he too is frustrated as despite his genuine efforts to arrange care for his patient he is being met with resistance from the HSE who are making no effort to resolve the problem. It is evident that this man requires surgery if he is ever to return to having any quality of life.
Presently his pain management is being administered in Dublin, however he can no longer manage a journey to Dublin as it is just too painful. Galway University Hospital can administer the medication but when things appear to have gone wrong in the past there appears to be reluctance by the HSE to ensure adequate continued care. When he attends A&E he is treated like a drug addict, as the dosages of medications are so extreme, presumably to try and manage the pain to the best possible degree. He has, on more than one occasion, had to literally crawl from the hospital on his hands and knees while in pain.
No-one has taken responsibility for this man’s care for some time now. He is being moved form pillar to post by the HSE. He is experiencing a life sentence of torture the likes of which I would not wish on my worst enemy. There are a lot of moving parts in this case, which need to be brought under control. I am not a medical professional, but I am a human being and the state of continuous agony this man is being left in is nothing short of barbaric.
If immediate action is not taken to address the fact that this man is being severely neglected by the HSE I will not only be raising the matter with the Minister on the floor of the Dáil under privilege, I will do everything in my power to ensure that there is a full investigation into every single person in the HSE who has had knowledge of this man’s suffering and has willfully done nothing about it.
This man needs to receive treatment to manage his pain in the closest hospital in which the treatment can be safely administered. I understand this to be Galway University Hospital. He needs to have a consultant take control of his case and ensure he is receiving the best therapy available and, no matter what the cost, he needs to undergo the surgery he requires as soon as it is safe for him to do so – without delay or excuse, at home or abroad. The cost of any such procedure should not be an issue either as the HSE has a duty of care in this case.
This man has been neglected by the HSE, pure and simple. To see his children running around him last week as he lay on the floor in pain, would break even the hardest heart. It’s simply not right that a person should be left in this condition. It’s just so wrong.
Is this a health service to be proud of? Shameful!
* Michael Fitzmaurice is
an Independent TD in Roscommon/Galway constituency