Junior Cert joy for teen in hospital for four months due to wheelchair delays

Junior Cert joy for teen in hospital for four months due to wheelchair delays
Liam Lynch and his mother Grainne. Picture: David Keane.

A teenage boy who was hospitalised for four months at a cost of up to €120,000 to the State because of delays in the allocation of a wheelchair has defied the odds and is to start his Junior Certificate exams from home tomorrow.

Liam Lynch (15) has been working with SNA's from Colaiste Mhuire in Buttevant over the last two weeks revising past papers in advance of his exams.

His mother, Grainne, is delighted that he is managing to undertake the exams after all of the upheavals and upset of being confined to bed in hospital.

It is important for him in September that when all of his friends are opening their envelopes that he will be opening his as well. From tomorrow on (he and the other teenagers) will be comparing papers and it is good that he is able to do that.

He has a scribe coming to the house (in Mallow) tomorrow for his first exam. He is fairly relaxed.

Liam will be fitted for his new wheelchair when his bedsores heal. Arising out of his pressure sores Liam requires a specially moulded seat. For that to happen he needs to be able to sit out in an apparatus which will be moulded to his posture.

Grainne says it is proving to be a long road to recovery.

"He needs to able to sit for two hours in the thing they use to mould. He can't do that at the minute. I can't see that happening before September. It is a long process.

"It has been unbelievably hard.

"What really annoys me about the whole thing is that this could all have been avoided if there was adequate funding in the first place. It was totally avoidable which makes me cross. To put him through all of this because of budgets.

"I get that they have a process but they don't have enough funding. It has cost €120,000 to have him in hospital from January. The bed he is in at home is costing €55 a day plus vat. It doesn't make sense."

Grainne says the Playstation was a lifeline for Liam over the last few months. He has also received immense support from his loyal friends.

The Playstation has saved his sanity. His friends have also been very good. One of the girls in his class organised for him get an encrypted copy of the Avengers Endgame movie from Disney. Liam is a huge Avengers fan. A guy came over from England with an encrypted copy. He had the cinema experience with his friends and popcorn and the whole lot. It was fantastic. Things like that get him through.

Liam was admitted to Cork University Hospital on January 19 last with stage four bedsores he had developed after he grew out of his wheelchair.

He missed his Junior Certificate mock exams and the chance to compete in the European power soccer championships.

A wheelchair was belatedly sanctioned on January 29 and a member of the public also offered him the use of a power chair.

Problems began to arise for Liam when he needed a new wheelchair last year. In June of 2018 his mother started the paperwork but the chair never materialised as Liam wasn't deemed an immediate priority.

Grainne says the funding that the HSE allocates for items such as wheelchairs is inadequate and needs to be increased as a matter of urgency.

In a previously issued statement the HSE said that they sincerely regret that the funding for this type of equipment is limited and does not meet demand.

"We regret that there can be a waiting period for equipment and this is due to the fact that demands on the budget and the available budget are very high."

The HSE has said that in cases where there is an acute urgent need, approvals may be made within a very short time frame. All applications for funding go through the Resource Allocation Group (Aids and Appliances). This comprises of a multidisciplinary group of health professionals, who assess applications based on clinical need.

In general terms even when an application is approved, there can be a lead time before manufacturers can deliver an order.

A Go Fund Me page is in operation in relation to the teenager’s ongoing medical expenses.

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