Cork teenager Liam Lynch left Cork today for Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin where he could undergo skin graft surgery because of delays in getting a new power chair from the Health Service Executive.
Liam was diagnosed with a tumour in his spine and scoliosis at the age of seven and had been living an active full life in his hometown Mallow until he outgrew his power wheelchair.
The Mallow teenager has been hospitalised since January 19 due to severe pressure sores that developed after he outgrew the wheelchair and the HSE failed to provide a new one in time despite his mother and occupational therapist applying months in advance.
He is now likely to miss his Junior Certificate exams in the coming months as a result of the HSE delays in getting him a new chair.
He was due to travel to Crumlin in recent weeks for surgery but contracted a bug and had to be placed in isolation.
Speaking to The Echo today (Tuesday) however, Liam’s mum Grainne revealed that the teenager was on his way to Crumlin for surgery after being allowed home over the Easter weekend.
She said they have been waiting for this for more than a month.
“We were only accepted as a patient on Friday.
“There was a lot of discussions between the various teams before we got accepted,” she added.
Liam is expected to be assessed in the coming days to determine if he can undergo surgery.
Ms Lynch also revealed they will meet with Teresa O’Donovan, the Head of Primary Care for the region, on May 7.
She said she will raise the possibility of a separate funding system for children awaiting supports like wheelchairs.
Following an article in The Echo months ago about Liam’s predicament, an anonymous donor offered to donate a powerchair for the young teenager, but this offer has not been put to use as Liam needs a specially moulded chair which cannot be made while he suffers from stage four pressure sores.
Cork TD Sean Sherlock (Labour) has labelled Liam’s treatment as “cruelty” and said the system has failed him.
Cork Senator Jerry Buttimer (FG), meanwhile, said the delay was “unacceptable” and called for an explanation from the HSE.
A spokesperson for Cork Kerry Community Healthcare recently told The Echo that they are “very saddened to hear that Liam has been so unwell”.
”We sincerely regret the fact that there can be a waiting time for important equipment such as wheelchairs.
“The funding available to us does not meet the demand, and this means that not all applications can be approved immediately or as quickly as we would like,” she added.