A CORK teenager who spent the first four months of 2019 in hospital is now busy preparing for his Junior Cert exams.
Mallow native Liam Lynch has been in hospital since January 19, due to severe pressure sores that developed after he outgrew his powerchair and the HSE failed to provide a new one in time, despite his mother and occupational therapist applying months in advance.
Liam was diagnosed with a tumour in his spine and scoliosis at the age of seven and had been living a full, active full life until he outgrew his power wheelchair and had to be hospitalised. It was feared he would miss his junior cert as a result. However, he returned home in recent weeks and, with the support of a sand mattress and encouragement from his family, is busy preparing for his exams which he will carry out at home.
His mum, Gráinne, praised Liam’s school for their support in helping her son prepare for the exams after such a difficult time.
“We are very lucky with the school he attends,” she told The Echo. “They have been amazing and so supportive, especially in getting Liam ready for the Junior Cert.
“This week he has had his SNAs (Special Needs Assistants) come to our house and do papers with him. He is going to do the exams from home.”
Gráinne met Teresa O’Donovan, the head of primary care in Cork/Kerry, in recent weeks to discuss Liam’s situation and the lack of funding for such supports, after the HSE admitted it does not have the funds to meet demand.
Cork/Kerry Community Healthcare recently admitted that the funding it receives does not meet demand in the area, and an extra €2million a year is needed.
The current monthly budget for the North and South Lee region is around €120,000, with €70,000 going towards standard items and the rest allocated for specialised equipment such as wheelchairs.
Gráinne called on the government to increase the budget in community regions to prevent this type of situation happening again.
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 yet as Liam needs a specially moulded chair which cannot be made while he suffers from stage four pressure sores.
He is recovering at home in the hope a new chair can be moulded soon.