Date Published: 20-May-2010
By Dara Bradley
Hundreds of patients in Galway and the west will have to undergo screening for Hepatitis C next week after it emerged last night that a health worker involved in surgical procedures in at least three major hospitals was diagnosed with the contagious virus.
A total of 454 patients, mainly in Galway and Mayo, who had surgery at Galway University Hospitals (Merlin Park and UHG), Mayo General Hospital and Letterkenny General Hospital will receive a letter from the Health Service Executive West (HSE) on Monday asking them to attend for precautionary Hepatitis C screening.
The HSE was aware of the worker’s Hepatitis C diagnosis almost ten months ago, in July 2009. The HSE has declined to comment on the healthcare worker, who was involved in hundreds of surgical procedures at these hospitals between 2004 and 2008, because he or she is now considered a patient and it cannot breach patient confidentially.
Private hospitals in the west have also been informed of the worker’s diagnosis and are in the process of notifying patients for screening. The number of private patients who may need screening is unknown. Hepatitis C is a potentially fatal virus that can attack the liver and healthcare workers may become infected from infected patients in the course of their work.
But Dr Breda Smyth, Public Health Specialist stressed to the Galway City Tribune that the HSE doesn’t expect that any of the patients who are being recalled will have a positive Hepatitis C testing and the precautionary screening is part of best practice.
“In July 2009 the Department of Public Health was notified of a case of Hepatitis C in a health care worker. Immediately a local advisory group was convened and it was decided that a look back exercise needed to be carried out,” she said.
Dr Smyth added: “This exercise was very comprehensive and vigorous and was ongoing from that point forward. Up to 800,000 procedures were reviewed by an expert and it was decided that 454 patients should be called for precautionary screening. We are not expecting any positive tests.”
Dr Smyth would only comment on public hospitals although she confirmed that in addition to the 454 public patients, more patients of private hospitals who underwent surgery between 2004-2008
“We have been working closely with and liaising with private hospitals and they have identified their patients and they will be notifying them accordingly. It is our duty to notify all private hospitals. They can confirm those details. I’m just prepared to comment on HSE West hospitals,” she said.
For more on this story, see the Galway City Tribune.
The way we were – Protecting archives of our past
People’s living conditions less than 100 years ago were frightening. We have come a long way. We talk about water charges today, but back then the local District Councils were erecting pumps for local communities and the lovely town of Mountbellew, according to Council minutes, had open sewers,” says Galway County Council archivist Patria McWalter.
Patria believes we “need to take pride in our history, and we should take the same pride in our historical records as we do in our built heritage”. When you see the wealth of material in her care, this belief makes sense.
She is in charge of caring for the rich collection of administrative records owned by Galway County Council and says “these records are as much part of our history as the Rock of Cashel is. They document our lives and our ancestors’ lives. And nobody can plan for the future unless you learn from the past, what worked and what didn’t”.
Archivists and librarians are often unfairly regarded as being dry, academic types, but that’s certainly not true of Patria. Her enthusiasm is infectious as she turns the pages of several minute books from Galway’s Rural District Councils, all of them at least 100 years old.
Part of her role involved cataloguing all the records of the Councils – Ballinasloe, Clifden, Galway, Gort, Loughrea, Mountbellew, Portumna and Tuam. These records mostly consisted of minutes of various meetings.
When she was cataloguing them she realised their worth to local historians and researchers, so she decided to compile a guide to their content. The result is For the Record: The Archives of Galway’s Rural District Councils, which will be a valuable asset to anybody with an interest in history.
Many representatives on these Councils were local personalities and several were arrested during the political upheaval of the era, she explains.
And, ushering in a new era in history, women were allowed to sit on these Rural District Councils – at the time they were not allowed to sit on County Councils.
All of this information is included in Patria’s introductory essay to the attractively produced A4 size guide, which gives a glimpse into how these Rural Councils operated and the way political thinking changed in Ireland during a short 26-year period. In the early 1900s, these Councils supported Home Rule, but by 1920, they were calling for full independence and refusing to recognise the British administration.
“I love the tone,” says Patria of the minutes from meetings. “The language was very emotive.”
That was certainly true of the Gort Rural District Council. At a meeting in 1907, following riots in Dublin at the premiere of JM Synge’s play, The Playboy of the Western World the councillors’ response was vehement. They recorded their decision to “protest most emphatically against the libellous comedy, The Playboy of the Western World, that was belched forth during the past week in the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, under the fostering care of Lady Gregory and Mr Yeats. We congratulate the good people of Dublin in howling down the gross buffoonery and immoral suggestions that are scattered throughout this scandalous performance.
For more from the archives see this week’s Tribunes here
Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr
Date Published: 23-Jan-2013
Athenry fail to take chances as they bow out of Junior Cup
Date Published: 29-Jan-2013
Athenry FC 1
Kilbarrack United 2
(After extra time)
For the second year in succession Athenry were done in extra time in the FAI Junior Cup as last season’s beaten finalist’s came from behind to snatch an excellent game in Moanbawn on Sunday afternoon.
On a heavy pitch that was only playable following extensive groundwork by club officials all morning, the home side were by far the better side in the opening half, but failed to take advantage of a number of opportunities that came their way.
An Alan O’Donovan penalty gave them a merited advantage just after the restart, but thereafter were on the back foot as Kilbarrack took over, but for all their pressing, the home rearguard were dealing comfortably with their forays.
However they were struck a body blow just six minutes from time, as big striker Keith Kirwan was left all alone at the far post to head the equaliser and from that point on the Dubliners were the better side.
They started off the extra time in the ascendancy and enjoying all the momentum before striking for a good winning goal on 104 minutes. A strong bench allowed them to make some necessary changes and it was not a facility that was available to Athenry manager Gabriel Glavin.
With Gary Forde and Gary Delaney out through suspension following their sending off against OLBC in the previous round, and Seamie Crowe injured, it left their bench rather threadbare with just a number of young squad players available.
Playing with the aid of the slight incline and any wind advantage going, the home side had a Connor Cannon effort on target in the opening minute, while John Meleady was just over with a flick at the other end.
Meleady then tested Andrew Walsh who saved comfortably, before the goalkeeper pulled off a brilliant double save on 14 minutes.
Firstly he went full length to push away a Meleady shot and was then back on his feet to parry David Jackson’s close-range rebound.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.