Crumlin Hospital medics save the day for Kate

Helen Ryan with Ciara Kelly and Brendan Mullins

Helen O’Callaghan hears of top care at Crumlin Hospital

WHEN Helen Ryan gets on the exercise bike at work as part of a staff fundraiser for Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin, she brings extra passion to the effort.

Cycling on the bike is “the biggest killer” says the Kilcock mother of five. However, she has reason to be grateful to Crumlin Children’s Hospital. In summer 2015, her then one-year-old daughter, Kate, poured a kettle of freshly boiled water over her foot.

“I heard this unmerciful screaming”, says Helen, who thought Kate was in her older sister’s bedroom, while Helen was preparing her six-month-old baby Luis’s bath. “I immediately whipped her trousers, shoes and socks off and put her standing up in cold water.”

Home alone with the five children, Helen’s eldest, 10-year-old Nelson, googled Crumlin Hospital, rang the hospital and phoned for an ambulance.

“He kept the other children calm and picked up a screaming Luis.”

Once the ambulance arrived, Kate was put on morphine. At Crumlin, the toddler was found to have second and third degree burns. Staff straightaway reassured Helen that removing the child’s clothes and immediately putting her foot in cold water had been the right call. Kate had to attend Crumlin for treatment every day for two weeks.

“They thought she’d need a skin graft. It hasn’t been ruled out. She’s monitored every six months to make sure she’s walking OK. She has a scar but she’s coming on really well and has no problem walking.”

Initially clingy and protective of herself after the trauma, Helen knew Kate had turned a corner two months later when she “started to get up early again, interact with siblings and sleep better at night”.

The grateful mother can’t sing Crumlin Hospital’s praises loudly enough. “Staff knew what to say and do to get the best out of Kate. Nobody made me feel it was my fault. The follow-up care was fantastic. They always said never be stuck at home worrying, to always pick up the phone.”

Helen, a reservations manager at the Clayton Hotel, Leopardstown, is the hotel’s ‘Crumlin ambassador’ for Dalata Digs Deep. This sees Dalata Hotels’ 3,560 employees in 31 hotels in the Republic of Ireland get involved in fundraising for Crumlin Hospital. Dalata Hotels Group has also pledged €40,000.

CMRF Crumlin CEO Lisa Nicole Dunne says the funds will “enable vital paediatric research.

Fact file

Crumlin Children’s Hospital treats more than145,000 patients annually and celebrated 60 years last month.

Crumlin Hospital is the national centre for childhood cancer (approximately 200 new cases diagnosed annually), cardiac diseases (500-600 infants born annually with Congenital Heart Defect) and cystic fibrosis.

Recent projects enabled by donors/supporters include renovated St John’s cancer ward and state-of-the-art heart centre.


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