Spinal services need more support - 'The services that I still need are not available in my local community'

Service users Tim Creedon and Trevor Martin with Fiona Bolder, CEO, Spinal Injuries Ireland.

Trevor Martin has lived with a spinal cord injury for two years but he counts himself one of the lucky ones — he can still walk.

Trevor is one of 1,800 people in Ireland living with a spinal cord injury who want the Government to provide better services for them.

“I was playing golf during the August bank holiday weekend in 2014. I went into the rough to find my ball and fell into a dike,” he said.

An off-duty fireman, who was also playing golf, looked after Trevor before he was airlifted to Galway Regional Hospital.

Trevor, 58, who lives in Galway, crushed his central spinal cord when he fell.

“I had knocked myself unconscious and when I woke up I could not move my arms or legs.

“I was face down but the man who helped me knew how to hold my head and neck so I would not be injured further.”

Trevor, who was recently retired when the accident happened, said his wife, Yvonne and two young sons, Nathan, 12 and Matthew, 11, had been a huge support.

“I am one of the 30% of people with a spinal injury who can walk. My injuries were such that I should be paralysed but I have problems with my balance — I don’t have sensation down one side of my body and I have serious manual dexterity problems.”

Trevor was a patient at the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Dún Laoghaire, Co Dublin.

“It is a fantastic setup but the services that I still need are not available in my local community.”

Spinal Injuries Ireland (SII) was in Galway yesterday for the launch of an awareness programme called This is My Life.

SII have identified huge gaps in the pathway of care for people like Trevor, from delays in services to inadequate or a lack of services.

SII chief executive, Fiona Bolger, said the Government should set up a steering group to implement the neuro-rehabilitation strategy developed in 2011. “Despite promises by previous administrations there has been no progress,” said Ms Bolger.

The SII survey found 60% of people with spinal injury do not believe medical staff in regional hospitals have enough knowledge to manage them.

See www.spinalinjuries.ie/thisismylife


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