Dear Health Minister Reilly,
I am a patient of the pain clinic at University College Hospital Galway, after 12yrs living with chronic pain caused by my Multiple Sclerosis a treatment was found to treat my chronic pain and enable to live a near normal life; after years of trying various medications and blocks.
You can only begin to imagine the joy I felt that first morning after having a lidocaine infusion to wake ‘pain free’ it was akin to rebirth. I was in a position to be the mother and wife I had longed to be but was unable to become due to pain and the side effects caused by medication. The clinic and I had a system where I would call once the pain began to return, as I am sure your aware each infusion is effective only for a certain time span; this can vary wildly depending on the stability of my ms. I would receive an appointment for the day ward within a few weeks, this was managed in such a way that I never fell into the state of unbearable nerve pain I had had to endure in the past, in fact my pain consultant stated he would bring me in monthly for treatment if his budget would allow.
Since September I have been living with the pain once more, I am a victim of cuts at UCHG cuts you sanctioned. I am now in a state of living death sleeping taking Oxynorm then sleeping some more in fact I have now become dependent on the drug not just to treat the pain but because my body needs it! you must be experienced from your time as a GP how quickly a persons body becomes dependent on highly addictive medication, especially when used for more than two weeks; I am on week six right now. I have been informed that the earliest appointment I can have at the day ward is on November 21st a further six weeks!
I have now reached the stage where I believe this situation is an infringement of my human rights and most certainly a breech of the Patients Charter (see 11,12 & 14 below) I will be seeking a legal representative to force the HSE to meet the requirements of the patients charter and seeking compensation for the physical and mental pain and suffering I am enduring and will continue to endure even after my appointment as I will need weaning off Oxynorm, all of which could have been avoided by a thirty minute visit to the day ward!
I await your response and plan for a solution to my intolerable situation
11-Right to Avoid Unnecessary Suffering and Pain
Each individual has the right to avoid as much suffering and pain as possible, in each phase of his or her illness.
The health services must commit themselves to taking all measures useful to this end, like providing palliative treatments and simplifying patients’ access to them.
12-Right to Personalised Treatment
Each individual has the right to diagnostic or therapeutic programmes tailored as much as possible to his or her personal needs.
The health services must guarantee, to this end, flexible programmes, oriented as much as possible to the individual, making sure that the criteria of economic sustainability does not prevail over the right to health care.
14-Rigbt to Compensation
Each individual has the right to receive sufficient compensation within a reasonably short time whenever he or she has suffered physical or moral and psychological harm caused by a health service treatment.
The health services must guarantee compensation, whatever the gravity of the harm and its cause (from an excessive wait to a case of malpractice), even when the ultimate responsibility cannot be absolutely determined.