The family of a seriously ill woman, stranded in Bosnia because no intensive care bed could be found for her here, have spoken of their relief at getting her home.
Mary Burke, 68, from Mallow, Co Cork, was being cared for at University Hospital Limerick last night after efforts to secure a bed for her failed at Cork University Hospital.
“We would have taken Dublin or anywhere really at this stage so to get Limerick, while not ideal, is far better than what we were beginning to fear,” said her daughter Carmel Green.
“But it’s very worrying. When I was trying to explain to the hospital in Bosnia that we couldn’t take mum home because there was no bed for her, they looked at me as if I was mad.”
Mary left Cork three weeks ago on a pilgrimage to Medjugorje, and was just two days into her trip when she developed breathing difficulties. She was rushed to Mostar Hospital and placed in intensive care.
Carmel flew out to her, expecting to stay three days but came home ten days later, without her mum whose air ambulance flight was twice cancelled after efforts to secure an ICU bed for her in Cork fell through.
CUH said it was unable to take Mary because all its nine ICU beds were full. It said it was committed to admitting her and was working towards finding a way to accommodate her.
The plans changed overnight on Monday when the insurers organising Mary’s evacuation from Bosnia approached Limerick. Mary was flown to Shannon yesterday where an ambulance met her and brought her to ICU in Limerick.
Carmel said the transfer went smoothly and her mum, who had been in a medically induced coma in Bosnia and was still heavily sedated, was nonetheless aware of what was going on.
“It’s a relief to be home where we can get to the bottom of mum’s diagnosis,” she said. “I’ve no complaint about the treatment in Mostar — they put her straight into ICU without any waiting around in an emergency department like would happen here — but things were getting lost in translation.
“And trying to explain about the ICU bed was hard. They were saying, ‘but you’re in Europe. It should be better in Europe’, but clearly it’s not. It was embarrassing.”
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved