HSE agrees to arrange prosthesis for waiting teen

Teenager Ronan Kiely, who has been waiting for an artificial leg since last November, has been told he will shortly get a replacement.

His mother, Margaret, from Boherbue, Co Cork, said she received an email from the HSE yesterday stating the 14-year-old’s prosthetic had finally been sanctioned.

It comes as a large number of amputees are set to protest outside HSE offices in Cork this Friday over “unacceptable waiting lists” for prosthetic limbs.

“I believe there is no doubt it came about because we highlighted his case in the media,” she said.

“If Ronan wasn’t sitting end-of-year exams, he would be attending Friday’s protest. Instead my husband Ned will be there, representing the family.”

There are 120 amputees in Cork and Kerry on a waiting list, and some have been seeking replacement limbs since last November.

Amputees have concerns over why delays for prosthetics exist only in Cork and Kerry and not in other counties within the control of HSE South, which also encompass Carlow, Kilkenny, South Tipperary, Waterford, and Wexford.

Joe Mullarkey, who is one of the picket organisers, described the waiting list as “appalling”.

He said there were 50 amputees in Carlow-Kilkenny and South Tipperary with no waiting list and there were 60 amputees in Waterford- Wexford with a waiting list of no more than six weeks.

“There are 120 applications on the Cork/Kerry waiting list. A reported 55% are waiting more than six weeks for prostheses.”

The HSE said the problem in Cork and Kerry was budget-related but Mr Mullarkey said there did not appear to be any financial problem in the remaining counties.

Mr Mullarkey, 70, who lives in Cork City, lost both his legs in an accident in England 40 years ago.

“It’s imperative now that amputees combine together and form a campaign group to represent their interests in the southern region,” he said.

Anne de Ward, a mother of three who lives in Dungourney, near Midleton, applied for a new prosthetic on Dec 17 last and is still waiting. “I will definitely be attending the protest on Friday,” she said.

The 47-year-old had her leg amputated below the knee in Aug 2010 and needs a replacement prosthetic: “Waiting so long makes everything more difficult to do. I have to be careful that I don’t damage the stump.”

Her husband, John, said the HSE South was offering a Third World service to amputees: “I’m very angry about this. I regularly check where Anne is on the list. The last time I checked, I was told there was a seven-month waiting list.”


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