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Connacht Tribune

Botched back operation leaves father on all fours

Dara Bradley

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A County Galway man spends his days on his hands and knees doubled-down in complete agony following a botched back surgery at Galway University Hospitals.

Tomás Coleman (49), from just outside Ballygar in North East Galway, is becoming immune to opiates and morphine, which give little relief from the 24/7 torture of shooting pain in his back.

The father of four young children aged six to 16 has suffered five years of chronic pain – and has been told he must wait a further three years for corrective surgery to be carried out in Dublin.

“I won’t be here in three years. The pain is too severe. I couldn’t go on another three years. I can only tolerate so much. You don’t realise, you don’t understand it unless you experience it yourself. It’s unbearable.

“Nobody can understand it unless you have that nerve absolutely burning. It’s niggling away all the time at you, it never goes away. Some days I get angry. But there’s no point anymore.

“I’m just hoping and hoping and praying all the time that someone will do something. What can you do? You just hope that someone will do something,” said Mr Coleman.

The Connacht Tribune understands that Mr Coleman is one of possibly a dozen or more patients who have suffered following operations by a surgeon working in Galway’s public hospitals, who has since left the country.

In November 2016, Saolta, the group responsible for GUH (UHG and Merlin Park), confirmed an independent audit identified “serious concerns” in relation to the consultant’s work.

Two independent orthopaedic surgeons carried out the audit of 198 spinal surgeries conducted by the surgeon at GUH during a 21-month period between January 2013 and November 2014.

The independent audit discovered that there were “serious concerns” in relation to four of these cases. Two of these four patients died as a result of the surgery, although underlying illnesses were also a factor, the audit found.

Last March, Saolta, confirmed the male consultant at the centre of the review had left the country, and did not cooperate with investigators. It is understood he is working in another hospital on the continent.

Galway/Roscommon TD Michael Fitzmaurice (Ind) this week said the treatment of Mr Coleman was “scandalous”.

See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

Galway to complete vaccine roll-out by end of the summer

Denise McNamara

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Ninety-five year old Margaret Kenny was first person to be administered the Covid-19 vaccination Practice Nurse Deirdre Furey at the Surgery Athenry.

On the first anniversary of Covid-19’s deadly arrival into Ireland, the head of the Saolta hospital group has predicted that all who want the vaccine will have received it by the end of the summer.

Tony Canavan, CEO of the seven public hospitals, told the Connacht Tribune that the HSE was planning to set up satellite centres from the main vaccination hub at the Galway Racecourse to vaccinate people on the islands and in the most rural parts of the county.

While locations have not yet been signed up, the HSE was looking at larger buildings with good access that could be used temporarily to carry out the vaccination programme over a short period.

“We do want to reach out to rural parts of the region instead of drawing in people from the likes of Clifden and over from the islands. The plan is to set up satellites from the main centre, sending out small teams out to the likes of Connemara,” he explained.

“Ideally we’d run it as close as possible to the same time that the main centres are operating once that is set up. Communication is key – if people know we’re coming, it will put people’s minds at rest.”

Get all the latest Covid-19 coverage in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Galway meteorologist enjoying new-found fame in the sun!

Denise McNamara

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Linda Hughes, presenting the RTÉ weather forecast live in studio.

Growing up in Galway where four seasons in a day is considered a soft one, Linda Hughes always had a keen interest in the weather.

But unlike most Irish people, instead of just obsessing about it, she actually went and pursued it as a career.

The latest meteorologist to appear on RTE’s weather forecasts hails from Porridgtown, Oughterard, and brings with her an impressive background in marine forecasting.

She spent six years in Aerospace and Marine International in Aberdeen, Scotland, which provides forecasts for the oil and gas industry.

The 33-year-old was a route analyst responsible for planning routes for global shipping companies. She joined the company after studying experimental physics in NUIG and doing a masters in applied meteorology in Redding in the UK.

“My job was to keep crews safe and not lose cargo by picking the best route to get them to their destination as quickly as possibly but avoiding hurricanes, severe storms,” she explains.

“It was a very interesting job, I really enjoyed it but it was very stressful as you were dealing with bad weather all the time because there’s always bad weather in some part of the world.”

Read the full interview with Linda Hughes in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Great-great-grandmother home after Covid, a stroke, heart failure and brain surgery

Dave O'Connell

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Mary Quinn...back home after an incredible few months.

Her family are understandably calling her their miracle mum – because an 81 year old great-great-grandmother from Galway has bounced back from Covid-19, a stroke, heart failure and brain surgery since Christmas…to return hale and hearty, to her own home.

But Mary Quinn’s family will never forget the trauma of the last three months, as the Woodford woman fought back against all of the odds from a series of catastrophic set-backs.

The drama began when Mary was found with a bleed on her brain on December 16. She was admitted to Portiuncula Hospital, and transferred to Beaumont a day later where she underwent an emergency procedure – only to then suffer a stroke.

To compound the crisis, while in Beaumont, she contracted pneumonia, suffered heart failure and developed COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease – the inflammatory lung disease that causes obstructed airflow from the lungs.

“Christmas without mom; things did not look good,” said her daughter Catherine Shiel.

But the worst was still to come – because before Mary was discharged, she contracted Covid-19.

Read Mary’s full, heart-warming story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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