The same greed and same terrifying darkness

IN his letter to the Minister for Health published in the Irish Examiner (November 21), the remaining oncologist in the south and south-west, Dr Seamus O’Reilly, berated conditions for cancer patients in the region.

He spoke of patients left in agony and untreated because of lack of facilities.

What he was describing was the faceless terror of cancer and dealing with it in a hopeless and isolated situation.

In this affluent society of ours , we cannot look after our terminally ill or their families.

Why? Twenty years on I still do not know the answer, except that it is the same today as it was then.

Twenty years ago I wrote a similar letter as a terrified, lonely and virtually unhelped wife of my terminally ill husband.

He, too, could not get treatment without weeks of waiting in the ominous, unknown terrifying darkness that is cancer.

So, after he died I wrote to the then Minister of Health, Barry Desmond, and challenged him to say if he had ever seen someone die of cancer, or had to watch his or her life ebb away slowly - or had he ever seen someone take 20 minutes to walk 20 paces, someone who was once full of life and strength? How did he expect such a person to travel from Cork to Dublin for treatment. I received no answer.

Now after reading the front page letter, I was swept back those 20 years as if they had never existed and I cried with helpless fury for those people now experiencing our pain of those years ago.

Our affluent country is the same uncaring, money-orientated society that it was then.

Money does not make a people.

That evening I read of a multi-million euro Cork Showgrounds plan. The goal, for now at least, is the redevelopment of the existing site.

No mention of people whether healthy or ill. I rest my case.

Sally Lane

1 Hillsboro

Model Farm Road

Cork

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