IT is completely unacceptable that a Cork teenager now faces skin grafts and a potential amputation because of HSE delays in providing a new powerchair, according to the leader of Seanad Eireann.
Senator Jerry Buttimer (FG) has called on the HSE to explain how they can allow such delays to happen.
Mallow teenager Liam Lynch was diagnosed with a tumour in his spine and scoliosis at the age of seven and had been living an active life in his hometown Mallow until he outgrew his power wheelchair.
The 15-year-old, who is involved in power soccer and is studying for his Junior Certificate, has been hospitalised since January 19, due to severe pressure sores that developed after he outgrew the wheelchair.
These sores have not healed and Liam now needs a skin graft procedure.
He was due to travel to Crumlin in recent weeks for surgery but has contracted a bug and had to be placed in isolation which could affect his surgery time.
“Any delay for any type of equipment like this is unacceptable,” said Senator Buttimer.
“There’s a need for an explanation to be given by the HSE.
“It’s unacceptable that Liam has had to wait an inordinate amount of time which has had a huge impact on his health and wellbeing,” he added.
“Any delay is unacceptable and needs to be explained immediately.
“Every effort should be made to provide supports for Liam; that should be a priority.”
Following an article in The Echo about Liam’s predicament, an anonymous donor offered 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.
His mum has been appealing for a new powerchair to accommodate his growth for more than six months.
The HSE said funding restrictions mean it cannot process all applications for powerchairs immediately.
In a statement to Mallow-based TD Sean Sherlock (Labour), the HSE revealed recently that Liam’s chair has been approved.
However, it cannot be moulded or fitted while Liam is in hospital expecting to undergo surgery.
The Lynch family are fundraising for Liam and his care and the public can donate at the Liam Lynch Fund on www.gofundme.com.