End this scadal – Kilmacrennan girl (9) on waiting list

Leona Gainfort

Leona Gainfort

THE terror of having a critically ill child on a hospital waiting list and enduring repeated cancellations is like living in a third world country, a mother of three from Kilmacrennan said this week.
Karen Gainfort’s youngest child Leona, who is nine years old, has a serious heart condition and she was devastated this week to get a call from Crumlin Hospital to tell her daughter’s scheduled surgery was cancelled for the second time as there is no bed available.
The family were all geared up before Christmas to go to Our Lady’s Hospital for the surgery when they were told it was cancelled because there was no bed available.
Speaking to the Donegal News this week Karen said she was just devastated when the rescheduled surgery due to happen this week was again cancelled. 
“I know it isn’t the fault of the person who rang from the hospital but I want them to tell me whose fault it is. Why should a child who is so ill have to wait, they should have an automatic right to the surgery they need but it seems to me that no one is accountable.
“Before Leona had her previous surgery it was cancelled four times. We were even in the hospital and she had the drip in and then we were sent home. In all it took around six months for it to happen that time. I am literally living on the edge,” Karen said.
Leona was born with congenital heart problems – a combination of seven serious conditions and she spent her first nine months in ICU in Our Lady’s Hospital. She had three major heart surgeries.
“She has come through so much and had so much done in the past yet what she needs now is not so much by comparison. The procedure she
was scheduled for was to have stents put in and angioplasty to improve her blood flow in order to delay needing more surgery. 
“Her energy levels are low because of her condition and she has to come in to rest after a short time outside. She also gets very cold because of the circulation problems. I am so on edge that I have told her teachers at Ballyraine National School not to ring me unless it is an absolute emergency – if the school rings I am terrified.
“Leona is a  wonderful, bubbly little girl who would love to be able to do all the things her friends do. She does not have the energy levels to do a full week at school,” Karen added.
Having watched Monday’s RTE exposé of the true state of waiting lists in the country’s hospitals Karen said she was “absolutely disgusted for the children and their families”.
“It is like living in a third world country. I will do anything to help my daughter and I am happy to have her situation highlighted so people know there are more children in critical need than those on the RTE programme. Leona could have a heart attack at any time. I have a bag packed in my jeep ready to go at any minute in case anything should happen.
“When Leona’s appointment was cancelled again this week I asked them when I will hear from them and was told they will give me a ring when her case is re-listed. Why should she come off the list? They don’t tell you whether she is still on the list or not. They said it will be a couple of weeks once she is re-listed. That means it could be up to two months – that is a long time when she has heart problems. It also affects her lungs.”
Karen was full of praise for her GP and Dr Power in Letterkenny University Hospital who have written frequently to Crumlin on Leona’s behalf adding that Our Lady’s Hospital have been aware of this problem since March. 
“The medical team in Crumlin have been with Leona since day one and they are absolutely brilliant for what they can do. I’m not blaming them because I know they are in a crisis. I will be ringing all of our politicians and doing whatever I have to do to get my daughter the surgery she needs,” she concluded.


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