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Connacht Tribune

Galway woman’s plea for double-lung transplant

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A 68-year-old Galway woman with an incurable respiratory disease has spoken of her devastation after being denied a double-lung transplant and told that she is to be left to die.

Teresa Kelly from Loughrea developed pulmonary fibrosis after metallic clips were implanted in her leg during surgery on her veins twelve years ago. She was highly allergic to nickel contained in the clips.

The mother-of-one says she was never consulted about the use of the clips, and did not know they were in her body until six-and-a-half years after the surgery. By that time, she had developed a number of incurable complications.

Ms Kelly was told last October that she would need a double-lung transplant, and underwent tests and preparation for the life-saving operation. However, she was told last month that the transplant would not be going ahead.

“I was brought by ambulance from Galway to Dublin especially for the doctor to tell me that he wasn’t doing my double-lung transplant, and he wouldn’t tell me why,” she said.

“So, I asked ‘Where does that leave me? Where do I go from here?’ He didn’t answer. I said ‘Am I just left to die?’ and he just nodded and said ‘Yes,’” recalled the Galway woman.

“He told me straight out that I have no other choice but that I am left to die, and he said my transplant wasn’t worth it. That is exactly what he said,” she added.

Ms Kelly has continued to ask medics in Galway and Dublin why she was refused a double-lung transplant, but says she has been met with silence and obfuscation.

She claims that doctors are unwilling to carry out a procedure that could highlight errors that were made in implanting the metallic clips, which ultimately resulted in her condition.

“They would rather see me die than expose their own mistakes,” she said. “And I am left without any answers. It is absolutely devastating.”

Ms Kelly, who has three grandchildren, underwent vascular surgery on her right leg in 2005, during which ten metallic clips were inserted and remained in her body. “They never told me and they never asked if I had an allergy,” she explained.

The allergic reaction to nickel in the clips resulted in an incurable autoimmune disease called ANCA vasculitis, which attacks the body’s own cells and tissues.

This resulted in recurring infections, and Ms Kelly was prescribed nitrofurantoin – an antibiotic usually employed only for short-term use. She remained on this medication for six-and-a-half years.

In 2011, she was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis – an incurable disease that causes scarring of the lungs. It is a known complication of long-term use of nitrofurantoin.

It was at this stage that the presence of the metallic clips in her leg was discovered. They were removed and the recurring infections abated.

“I just want them to tell me why they won’t do the double-lung transplant,” said Ms Kelly, who ran her own hairdressing business until 2008.

Last week, she wrote to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Minister for Health Simon Harris, seeking an explanation as to why she has been denied life-saving surgery and told that she is to be left to die. She is awaiting substantive replies.

A spokesperson for Saolta University Healthcare Group undertook to investigate the circumstances of the case, but later reverted to state that no comment could be provided in relation to individual patients.

A HSE spokesperson also refused to comment on the same basis, but advised that any patient with concerns about their care should contact their consultant directly.

Connacht Tribune

SMEs set their sights on Euro expansion

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Kevin Moran of IMS Marketing accepting the ‘Excellence in Practice Silver Award’ from the European Foundation for Management Development, with Enterprise Ireland CEO Julie Sinnamon and Nan Gou, Programme Director, ESMT Berlin.

Irish entrepreneurs have the skills, products and services to break down barriers across Europe, according to one Galway-based marketing agency that is helping SMEs enter new markets.

Kevin Moran, Managing Director of IMS Marketing in Galway, said that this creativity and enthusiasm allows Irish entrepreneurs to punch above their weight in new markets.

He was speaking after his IMS Marketing was honoured for its ‘Enter-the-Eurozone’ Programme which has helped 19 SMEs break into Europe.

And he urged all SMEs to continue to set their ambitions on export markets as we emerge from the Covid-19 restrictions and revisit the challenges of Brexit.

Mr Moran said that IMS Marketing, along with its partners, Enterprise Ireland and ESMT Berlin, was delighted to receive the Excellence in Practice Silver Award’ from the European Foundation for Management Development.

“The vision for the ‘Enter the Eurozone’ Programme was to enable progressive Irish SMEs  to enter a new Eurozone market in a strategically led way,” he said.

“Export markets will be more important than ever for Irish companies and jobs as they now face the twin threat of Brexit and a post Covid19 economic recession.”

Accepting the Award’ from the EFMD, Mr Moran said that his company witnessed the strength of the Irish SME sector during the delivery of the award-winning ‘Enter the Eurozone’ programme.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Businesses miss out on restart grant

Stephen Corrigan

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Mr. Kenneth Deery. Photo: Andrew Downes, Xposure
CEO of Galway Chamber Kenny Deery

Just one-third of Galway business eligible for the Government’s Restart Grant have actually applied for the scheme which aims to bolster small enterprise as Covid-19 restrictions ease.

It was revealed this week that businesses in Galway City and County have received almost €4.5 million in grant aid under the scheme which offers grants of between €2,000 and €10,000 to commercial rates-liable enterprises.

To qualify for the €250 million scheme, businesses must have an annual turnover of less than €5 million; have 50 or fewer employee; and have a projected loss of revenue of 25% or more.

CEO of Galway Chamber Kenny Deery said there were many Galway businesses that had yet to apply for the grants, despite the fact that they were entitled to do so.

Only around 1,100 of the about 3,000 businesses in the city and county that may be due a pay-out have applied, and confusion over eligibility was contributing to that issue, he explained.

“Some businesses are of the view that they’re not eligible, but they need to realise that even if they only paid €500 or €1,000 in rates in 2019, they could still be eligible for €2,000,” he said.

Those who were in rates arrears were also entitled to the grant, said Mr Deery, adding that as long as a business had a rates liability in 2019, they could apply for the grant.

“The payment have just started being paid out to those who applied about two months ago, so it has been slow in terms of progressing those applications.

“What I would be saying to small businesses is that they would need to sell a lot of cups of coffee or a lot of sandwiches to make €2,000 or €5,000 in profit,” said Mr Deery.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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Connacht Tribune

Galway embraces Mass changes

Stephen Corrigan

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Parish Priest Fr Hugh Clifford wearing a mask during the distribution of Holy Communion at Mass in St Joseph’s Church, Kinvara, on Saturday evening. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy

Parishioners in Kinvara made a long-awaited return to weekend services on Saturday at St Joseph’s Church, and while it was far from business as usual, mass-goers expressed delight at their return to the church.

Parish Priest Fr Hugh Clifford said while there were necessary changes to what people would be accustomed to, the congregation was understanding of why that was necessary and thankful that the implementation of these measures meant they could return to services after a four-month absence.

As part of Phase 3 of the easing of restrictions, services of up to 50 people were allowed, and to respect physical distancing, that meant two seats in every three were blocked off, said Fr Hugh.

“Households can sit together, but at the moment, we have the limit of 50 people, but we hope that will change in the next phase. We have to advise people who are more vulnerable that they should consider staying at home for the time being,” he explained.

The obligation to attend Mass has been lifted since the outbreak of the Covid-19 crisis, continued Fr Hugh, meaning that people need not worry if they are unable to attend.

For the Eucharist, the Priest and Eucharistic Ministers wear face coverings and use hand sanitiser to ensure there is no cross-contamination, with Communion administered to people in their seats, said Fr Hugh.

See full coverage in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. You can also add the paper to your online grocery delivery; you can purchase a digital edition here, or you can have it delivered at no extra charge by An Post; full details are on this website.

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