A LIMERICK woman fighting cancer - who has had over 60 surgeries, both kidneys, womb and bladder removed and is on dialysis - has had her medical card restored after being refused a fourth time.
The 41-year-old spoke to the Limerick Leader in June as she wanted her story told. It received front page coverage after she was turned down for a medical for a third then a fourth time. The stories received thousands upon thousands of hits on www.limerickleader.ie
“When you really need somebody to give you a hand, it’s an extra slap in the face you don’t need when you are already going through hell.
“It’s another thing that makes it harder and not only to be refused but that general sense of ‘Jesus nobody gives a s***’. It just makes it harder than it needs to be, to be honest,” she said in June.
Now after the Government’s U-turn the medical card fell on to her doormat without her having to apply again.
“It was brilliant and a big surprise. It came at a great time because my monthly drugs were due the following day so it saved me €140 I didn’t have,” she said. There was no extra information about why her previous applications had been turned down.
“It didn’t say anything. Basically here is your medical card and the expiry date is this time next year so it is a year anyway. Finally it is nice that something makes life easier rather than always making life harder. It’s a little break in the clouds with sunshine coming through,” she said.
While she is thrilled to have the card back she says it was terrible “when you are fighting a battle with your health and then have to fight another battle like this”.
“It was daft to have to go through all the paperwork for the applications, be turned down four times and then without applying again it just comes in the letter box,” said the mother, who appreciated the public’s reaction to the Leader stories. “It gave me a nice feeling that the general public were on board and thinking it was crazy. It showed me that I wasn’t on my own, that there were others in a similar position going through exactly what I was going through,” said the lady who wished to thank Deputy Niall Collins, Cllr Shane Clifford, Irish Kidney Association and her GP who all fought her corner.
Her GP wrote a letter saying, “One phone call from the centralised GMS application office to me would have been sufficient to clarify her status of need. Instead, reams of bureaucracy and stress for an already sick lady – it’s inhumane”.
Cllr Clifford said it was terrible she had to go through all this upset and stress.
“Sadly there are many other people like her. I think she was very brave to come forward and let her story be told. I think this story and other stories like it helped the Government see the light. It made them backtrack on their decision and bring back a more humane way of dealing with this,” said Cllr Clifford. He informed Deputy Collins, who raised her case in the Dail.
“While I do welcome its return. She is one of many with serious medical conditions who deserve a medical card but were put needlessly through months of worry and distress for no reason,” said Deputy Collins.