Generous donor offers powerchair to Cork teen who was failed by the health service

Generous donor offers powerchair to Cork teen who was failed by the health service
Liam Lynch from Mallow and his mother Grainne, at Cork University Hospital.

THE Cork community has rallied around a young teenager set to undergo surgery because of the failure to provide him with new powerchair.

A member of the public has offered to donate a powerchair to Mallow teen Liam Lynch who has been hospitalised and will have to undergo skin graft surgery because the HSE could not provide a new powerchair due to funding restrictions.

Liam, who requires the motorised wheelchair, has been in hospital since January 19 and has missed mock Junior Cert examinations as a result. He has needed a wheelchair since the age of seven when he was diagnosed with a tumour in his spine and scoliosis.

Since he outgrew his last wheelchair, he has been left waiting for a new powerchair and has suffered stage four pressure sores as a result of using inappropriate equipment. He now needs to undergo skin graft surgery because of the delays.

The Evening Echo was contacted by a member of the public after reporting on Liam’s story, who is offering to donate a powerchair to the youngster.

Liam’s mum Grainne said she will contact the generous donor in the hope of finding a solution, at least until the HSE provide Liam with the appropriate equipment.

Ms Lynch remains highly critical of the HSE's response to her son's situation.

In a statement, the HSE said it wished Liam a speedy recovery and were very saddened to hear that he has been unwell.

The statement added that even once an application for funding for equipment is approved, there may be a "lead time" before manufacturers can deliver an order.

“Unfortunately, this is beyond our control," the HSE said.

“We sincerely regret that the funding available to us for this type of equipment is limited, and does not meet demand. Because of the significant demands on the budget for equipment, not all applications can be approved immediately.” 

Ms Lynch described the HSE’s comments as “ridiculous”.

“They know the number of kids in their area and they know their profile,” she said.

“Provision should be made year on year for these kids.

“I mean kids grow, that’s what they do, so they should know that in two years time Liam needs a new chair or Eoin needs a new chair, or whatever their needs are,” she added.

“To say the funding isn’t there is wrong. Of course it’s there.

“We all know as well about the lead time involved, that’s why we prepare our cases months in advance with our occupational therapists.

“We’re prepared for that but the HSE isn’t.”

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