Clondalkin father pleads with hospital and HSE to allow private therapy for injured son

By Maurice Garvey

A FATHER is pleading with the HSE to allow him to bring in private treatment for his seriously ill son in Tallaght Hospital.

Clondalkin resident Ronnie Spadaccini has been trying for over two months to bring in a private Occupational Therapist (OT) for his son Paul De Ferriera – but says this is blocked by “politics and resources”.

Ronnie Spadaccini 09032017
Ronnie Spadaccini and his son Paul De Ferriera

Paul (34) suffered a horrific head injury in a quad bike accident last October on Neilstown Road.

He was rushed to Tallaght for a CT scan, and immediately transferred to Beaumont Hospital for a brain operation – spending four weeks in a coma before he was moved back to Tallaght Hospital in late November.

Recovery will be “a long road” according to Ronnie, who says his son is “lucky to be alive”, praising staff in Beaumont and Tallaght for their work.

Ronnie told The Echo: “The big concern is Paul’s rehab. He has had six OT sessions since the start of January but he needs two a week. Between January 20 to February 19, he had one session. This stuff is vital for his recovery.

“For the last two months I’ve tried to bring an OT therapist in privately, but this is blocked, as the hospital say they need to be garda-vetted and have insurance. The Operational Therapist I got is already garda-vetted and has been working in a different hospital.”

Paul, a married father of two young kids, receives physio three times a week, and has started to make a slow recovery.

He is walking and talking with the help of staff and his family, who provide round the clock care, but currently has short-term memory loss, and will require surgery for a prosthetic skull in Beaumont.

Ronnie continued: “I’ve been at this for two months. They let the OT person in last week as a once off, for an assessment, but no therapy was allowed. The hospital block it, but they can only work with the policies in place.

“I want my son to get the therapy he needs. He has worked all his life, pays his taxes but can’t get anything back.”

Sinn Féin TD Eoin Ó Broin has been assisting the family with representations to the HSE and Tallaght Hospital this week.
“It seems incredibly bureaucratic,” said Deputy Ó Broin.

“They should lift the ban, and if the hospital can’t provide OT, as identified by the family, then they should be allowed to bring someone in.”

A spokesperson for Tallaght Hospital said: “In the interest of patient confidentiality, Tallaght Hospital cannot comment on individual cases.

“While the hospital does not enforce policies on patients or families who wish to supplement care with external resources, garda vetting is a statutory requirement for all healthcare workers who provide an onsite service to patients in Tallaght Hospital.”

A spokesman for the HSE said “as it’s a day-to-day matter, the query was one for the hospital directly” rather than the Dublin Midlands Hospital Group.

“When people hear about problems in hospitals they think of trolley waiting times, but they don’t think of people in the beds,” said Ronnie.

“Paul’s brother and sister are helping out. His wife comes in. Paul’s garage where he works as a mechanic in Finglas, said he can take as much time as he needs off. My job – Luas maintenance – was very good to me giving me three months off.

Now I do shifts and nights here, and head straight to work from the hospital.

“It’s so frustrating when you’re willing to pay for treatment and it’s blocked. Our family has gone through enough. While the health service plays around, my son is lying there.”

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