VIDEO: Roy Keane gets hero’s welcome at Marymount hospice launch

Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane yesterday cut the ribbon on a groundbreaking interventional pain service facility at Marymount Hospital and Hospice in Cork, the first of its kind in Europe.

Marymount’s new state-of-the-art facility at Curraheen houses the purpose-built facility, which comprises an outpatient suite, a procedure room with X-ray-fluoroscopy equipment and recovery facilities.

The event was also attended by Mayors of Cork City and County Chris O’Leary and John Paul O’Sullivan, Cork City football manager John Caulfield and his assistant John Cotter, and club CEO Timmy Murphy.

Speaking at the launch Martin O’Neill confessed that he felt like he was imposing on his famous assistant’s homecoming.

“I feel a bit of an intruder here today, because I’ve arrived down in Cork, which belongs to Mr Keane and the reception he’s got has been absolutely fantastic,” he said.

“I feel as if I’m like John the Baptist who has come to pave the way for the great Redeemer,” Mr O’Neill quipped.

“I’m going to invite Roy up to open some shop in Kilrea so that he knows I’m actually quite famous up there.”

O’Neill paid tribute to the work of the hospital and hospice, and said that cancer puts football into perspective. He stepped down as Celtic boss in 2005 after his wife Geraldine was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

“When my wife was recovering from cancer herself, the nurses’ treatment was just sensational, the professor was absolutely fantastic and I see it here,” he said.

While Mr Keane did not deliver any speech, he cut the ribbon on the new centre and spent the afternoon visiting patients in Marymount with Mr O’Neill.

Dr John Browne, consultant pain specialist, explained what services the facility provides – and how these services are “grossly underutilised worldwide”.

“Cancer pain can be treated very adequately in 90% of cases by drugs and combinations of drugs. But in about 10% of cases either the drugs don’t work or the drugs have side effects,” Dr Browne said.

“These typically correspond with patients with quite severe cancer-related pain. The evidence is that 80% of these patients will get good relief if we carry out interventional pain techniques such as nerve blocks,” he said.

Dr Browne revealed that in last year 200 such procedures have been carried out in the Cork area alone.

“The big issue of moving this kind of a service into a hospice was that we had to adopt acute hospital principles in a hospice setting. We had to introduce principles such as resuscitation trolleys, emergency drugs, monitoring etc. Principles that are more at home in a theatre setting or an ICU than they are in a hospice,” he said.

He paid tribute to the staff at Marymount, Professor of Palliative Medicine Tony O’Brien and the HSE for making the dedicated unit a reality.

A self-professed ardent supporter of the national team, Dr Browne said that it was like “all his Christmases had come together” when O’Neill and Keane were appointed to the Ireland management positions.

“I thought the FAI were a bit like the HSE,” he said. “Sometimes in spite of it all they get it right occasionally.”


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