By Orla Dunne
Today I was shocked, horrified and angered to the point of tears. I have been looking after a lovely 82 year old gentleman (let’s call him Jim – not his real name) and his wife for the past 3 years. This couple live alone, haven’t required any help from the State or otherwise in the past and see me only occasionally. Jim survived colon cancer 2 years ago and has done well from that perspective ever since.
3 weeks ago, their world changed. Firstly their medical card was taken away – they were 4Euro over the limit allowed. Secondly, Jim had just been diagnosed with a new pancreatic primary tumour and had evidence of spread to his liver and his lungs. This is a terminal illness with a very poor prognosis.
Anticipating the need for palliative care imminently, we set about trying to get his medical card restored. I wrote a letter clearly stating the above diagnosis and Jim’s urgent need for palliative treatment. There was stony silence from the medical card office but thanks to the dogged persistence of my reception staff, today we were contacted by a doctor who vets the applications for discretionary medical cards. She wanted to know if the diagnosis was “genuine”. As I am not in the habit of lying in my letters, I was a little disgusted to have to explain Jim’s problem and the fact that he has now been admitted to hospital for palliative care after his sudden and rapid decline last week. She then went on to ask about prognosis – which I stated may only be a matter of weeks. To which she replied “Sometimes emergency medical cards are issued in cancer diagnoses and these people are still around a year later”.
I actually do not know what I said back. This took the wind out of my sails completely. That a doctor would begrudge a medical card to a cancer patient???? That a doctor would begrudge a cancer patient a few more months of life???? That at the end of someone’s life, all a doctor can think about is balancing the books for the HSE?
What is our world coming to?
How can we let this happen?
When did doctors become the robotic slaves of the HSE?
Jim is a husband and a father. His diagnosis has devastated his family and friends. Surely his life is worth whatever it costs to allow him to die with dignity.
By Thomás Aengus O Cléirigh
In the Ireland of Bailouts to German Banks and other international Bondholders our financial resources have been hijacked to pay off debts of Gamblers and as in Greece our country is no longer a true independent republic we are now financial slaves to a discredited Euro ponzi scheme that takes no notice of communities or our sick , old or the dying they are expendable and no longer producing they are discarded into trolleys in drafty corridors in our hospitals ( those that are still open) We are now commodities, cash cows milked till exhausted and then discarded like trash!
We must end this troika led dictatorship for billionaires and carpetbaggers!