Wheelchair nightmare for Mallow teenager: Mum says current system 'doesn’t make any sense'

Wheelchair nightmare for Mallow teenager: Mum says current system 'doesn’t make any sense'
 15yr old Liam Lynch who has been in the CUH since January this year waiting for a revised wheelchair catches up on his game console with mum, Grainne and dad David. Picture: John Delea.

A 15-year-old boy who outgrew his wheelchair and was left months waiting for a replacement now faces skin grafts and potentially amputation.

Liam Lynch 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 teenager, who is involved in power soccer and is studying for his Junior Certificate, has been hospitalised since January 19, due to pressure sores that developed after he outgrew the wheelchair.

These sores have not healed and Liam now needs a skin graft procedure.

When applying for a new chair last June, Liam’s mother Gráinne said that the funding was not prioritised for the essential equipment and her son was left without.

“It is infuriating to think about it. Liam was out of hospital for seven years, he was doing well and now he has been hospitalised since January due to this situation.”

Following an article in The Echo 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 the stage four sores.

Speaking about her son, Gráinne said he is coping as best he can: “He has moments where he is fed up, bored or wants to go home and that is perfectly understandable.”

Ms Lynch, who also has a 14-year-old daughter Maeve with her husband David, said the whole family is under a lot of stress.

“David and I take turns at the hospital, it is not an ideal scenario, but you just have to get on with things, this is what we are faced with, this is what we have to do.”

Gráinne said the worst thing for her and for Liam is the waiting.

“We were told two weeks ago Liam was being transferred to Crumlin where his care team would make a decision on whether or not he needs to have his leg amputated or to have a skin graft procedure.

“All the waiting is hard. If things just happened it would be a lot easier.”

15yr old Liam Lynch who has been in the CUH since January this year waiting for a revised wheelchair. Picture: John Delea.
15yr old Liam Lynch who has been in the CUH since January this year waiting for a revised wheelchair. Picture: John Delea.

As well as this, Liam picked up a hospital bug and is now in a room by himself in isolation. This bug may affect his place on a list for surgery.

Discussing the situation, Ms Lynch said that what she would like to see is a separate fund for growing children in wheelchairs so that no one else ends up in this situation.

“The current system is stupid. You could be waiting over a year for a chair in Cork and all the time the child is growing. It doesn’t make any sense.”

“Even once an application for funding for equipment is approved, there may be a lead time before manufacturers can deliver an order, and unfortunately, this is beyond our control,” the HSE said in a statement in February. “We sincerely regret that the funding available to us for this type of equipment is limited, and does not meet demand.”

The Lynch family are fundraising for Liam and his care and the public can donate at the Liam Lynch Fund on www.gofundme.com.

More in this section

Sponsored Content