A Connemara man who has Motor Neurone Disease claims the HSE is allowing him to die by default because he is not being granted access to surgery that would prolong his life.
Andrew Lydon is a 45 year old father of two from Baile na hAbhann now living in Tuairin, who was diagnosed with MND (also known as ALS) three years ago and who has asked for a tracheostomy to extend his life.
The HSE policy is not to provide MND patients with this procedure as it usually involves expensive full-time daily aftercare.
This week the family launched a campaign through the Andrew Lydon Trust to help fundraise for this treatment and aftercare and to highlight his and many others’ prediment.
This week too, Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh rowed behind the campaign and has pledged to ask Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar to intervene.
Sally Lydon, Andrew’s wife, said that the surgery was a relatively simple operation and that the expense was with the aftercare, which has been estimated at about €300,000 a year.
“To get this procedure, which would then require full-time care, you would need to be independently wealthy. Andrew has a discretionary medical card and we do have private health care but it is still beyond our reach.
“The decision to have the procedure is a personal one, not everyone wants who has ALS wants it, but Andrew wants to be around longer for our children, who are 17 and twelve.”
Senator Ó Clochartaigh said he believed there were only five or six people in Ireland who would be suitable or would opt for the operation but that HSE policy currently denied them the choice.
“Andrew believes that this is a violation of his rights, that as a citizen of the state, that the State has a duty to protect his life.
“I am calling on Minister Varadkar to discuss Andrew’s case with the HSE to see what can be done to assist him and to extend his life expectancy, so he can see his children grow up and spend more time with them. Andrew believes that by taking no decision the HSE are allowing him to die by default.
“It is ironic that the state recently expended huge resources in fighting court cases on the right to life and that now we have a man fighting to extend his and they are not giving him their full support,” said the Senator.
Andrew worked as a computer programmer in a local internet company when he noticed the little finger of his left hand was sticking out from his other fingers and he couldn’t move it back.
He initially thought it was Repetitive Strain Injury but a few months later the muscle between his forefinger and thumb began to weaken and he lost his pinch power.
“What followed was nine months of MRIs, EEGs, blood tests and endless other tests until finally I was sitting in front of a specialist in Dublin being told I had a terminal disease. The news was devastating. How could I be dying? I didn’t even feel sick!” writes Andrew on his website.
He did return to work but by the summer of 2013 found himself in a wheelchair and these days he uses a NIPPY (a Non-Invasive Positive Pressure Ventilation machine) to help him breathe.
He will eventually require an invasive ventilation, a procedure that saved scientist, Stephen Hawking in the Eighties and which is still prolonging his life.
The Andrew Lydon Trust is currently open for donations and any monies not used by Andrew will go towards the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association.
Water outages across Knocknacarra and Barna due to burst watermain
Galway Bay fm newsroom – There are water outages across Knocknacarra and Barna this morning due to a burst watermain
The burst is in a rising main from Clifton Hill in Galway City to Tonabrucky Reservoir
The city council and Irish Water says while every effort is being made to maintain supply to as many customers as possible, the burst has caused water levels in Tonabrucky Reservoir to deplete
Houses and businesses in Knocknacarra, Barna and surrounding areas will experience low pressure and outages.
Dedicated water service crews have mobilised and repairs are underway and are expected to be completed by mid-afternoon.
Traffic management will be in place and Letteragh Road will be closed between Sliabh Rua and Tonabrucky Cross until 6pm.
Householders and businessses are being asked to conserve water where possible to reduce the pressure on local supplies and allow reservoir levels to restore.
Woman sustains serious injuries after being struck by firework in Eyre Square
Gardaí are appealing for witnesses after a young woman was struck in the face by a firework in Eyre Square in the city overnight.
It happened shortly after midnight and gardai say it’s understood the firework had been launched from close to the Tourist Information Kiosk.
The young woman suffered serious injuries and was hospitalised as a result.
Gardaí understand there was a large group of people in Eyre Square at the time and are now asking that any person who may have witnessed the incident make contact with the investigating team.
In particular Gardaí are appealing to anyone who may have video footage of the incident, either on mobile phone, CCTV or dash-cam to make contact with them.
This incident comes just days after a policing committee meeting was told of increasing concern about anti social behaviour around Eyre Square.
Garda chief suggests closing Eyre Square to curb anti-social behaviour
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Closing Eyre Square at night-time was among the radical suggestions put forward by Galway’s top Garda this week – in response to claims that the city centre’s famous landmark had become a ‘no-go area’ after dark.
It comes as Gardaí confirmed that since January they issued almost 500 fines for breaches of the city’s alcohol bylaws, which prohibit the consumption of alcohol in public spaces.
Responding to claims that people were afraid to visit parts of the city centre at night due to anti-social behaviour, Chief Superintendent Tom Curley said that the authorities might have to look at closing Eyre Square at certain times.
Chief Supt Curley also said that improved lighting and better CCTV were other tools that could be used to deter anti-social behaviour and to detect crime in the city centre.
“I’d need another five officers in there – and I haven’t got them,” said Chief Supt Curley of the requirement for more Gardaí on patrol in Eyre Square.
He was responding to a charge by former mayor of Galway, Councillor Frank Fahy, who said Eyre Square was dangerous at night. “It’s a no-go area,” he said at a City Joint Policing Committee (JPC) meeting this week.
Cllr Fahy said that the illegal activity and anti-social behaviour in the city centre was a product of the Covid-19 pandemic and people socialising outdoors. Eyre Square was safe pre-Covid, he said.
In a written reply to the JPC, Chief Supt Curley said that anti-social behaviour issues had been ‘de-escalated’ along the city’s canals, Woodquay and Spanish Arch ‘as a result of extra Garda patrols’.
“The resulting consequences have led to crowd movement from these areas (and they) are now congregating at Eyre Square. Garda attention is concentrated on Eyre Square, however the return of students and the continued restrictions has led to increased numbers,” he said.
(Photo: a scene from Eyre Square at night this week taken from a video circulated on social media)
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.