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Kidney patients living in fear call for overhaul of vaccine list

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IN DANGER: Barth Flynn, attends dialysis at University Hospital Kerry three days a week. Contracting COVID-19 could be fatal for him or other kidney patients.

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By Sean Moriarty

 

A local kidney patient has called for a complete overhaul of the COVID-19 vaccination list. On the current list, kidney and renal patients are Priority 7 and are grouped together with 18-65 year olds who suffer other health conditions.

Barth Flynn (37), attends dialysis at University Hospital Kerry three days a week. The Fossa man suffered kidney failure as a baby and the condition grew progressively worse in adulthood.

“Look at the rationale behind this, Priority 3 is for over 70s who are at a risk of hospitalisation or death,” he told the Killarney Advertiser. “Any exposure to COVID-19 could be fatal to us too.”

Mr Flynn was not engaging in any sort of a "me first" attitude, he was speaking as the former director of nursing at Killarney Nursing Home and as someone who fully understands the pressure the Irish healthcare system is currently facing.

“The classes are too broad, in the 18-65 age group, a lot of these people are carers for other people, who will look after them if something should happen to the carer?” he added.

His wife Lorraine Friel is a nurse at Macroom Community Hospital.

“I don’t fancy my chances if I got sick with COVID-19,” he added. “Lorraine is very concerned that she might bring it in from the hospital. I am very concerned if that happened I could bring it into the dialysis unit in Tralee. I very much know the risks involved, it is very dangerous for me, but there is a lot of people over there a lot sicker than me and if I got it they could die.”

COMPLICATIONS

He has barely left his home in the last year as his condition is further complicated as a result of heart surgery last year – as his kidney illness caused damage to a valve in his heart.

He also suffers from a form of arthritis, another side effect of his kidney condition.

He was originally supposed to undergo heart surgery in November 2019 but that got delayed until July last year.

His 10 days in University Hospital Cork underlined what he already knew from his wife – that hospitals are under very serious pressure.

“One man on the same ward, he had his procedure cancelled three times, he was fasting and ready but the hospital needed the ICU beds after more [COVID-19] cases. He was in for a bypass,” said Barth.

The couple are parents to two boys, Josh (6), and Luke (2). Luckily for them her brother John effectively gave up his life, to care for the two children.

“John has been living with us for a year, when all this started he offered to come, it has had a big impact on him,” added Barth. “When I am at home after dialysis, I am too weak to look after the boys.”

He also called on people to obey the guidelines as any spike in COVID-19 cases puts him and other kidney patients at very real risk of death.

“We can see with these restrictions – they do work,” he said.

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Muckross Rowing Club members on Irish teams for two major regattas

  Six members of Muckross Rowing Club will compete for Ireland in two upcoming international events. Rowing Ireland this week announced the Irish squads for the Coupe de la Jeunesse […]

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Six members of Muckross Rowing Club will compete for Ireland in two upcoming international events.

Rowing Ireland this week announced the Irish squads for the Coupe de la Jeunesse Regatta.

Daniel Fleming and Ian Coffey have both been selected for the Under 19 Irish squad to race at the Coupe de la Jeunesse Regatta for European junior rowers. The Coupe de la Jeunesse Regatta, involving 16 European countries, will be held over from over three days, August 9-11 in Racice, Czechia.

Four Under 23 university rowers from the Muckross club have also been selected as part of the Senior Irish squad for the Home International Regatta this month.

Niamh Coffey (University of Limerick), Patrick Buckley (University of Limerick), Finn O’Sullivan (University of Limerick) and Ethan O’Neill (University College Cork Rowing Club) will take on the ‘Triple Crown’ event of rowing, competing for Ireland against crews from England, Scotland and Wales.

The Home International Regatta will be held on Saturday, July 27 in Strathclyde, Scotland.

All six Muckross rowers have earned their green jerseys following a lengthy and testing trial series on land and water which began in Autumn 2023 and culminated in final water trials at the end of June.

“Muckross Rowing Club sends its best wishes to the very talented Muckross oarsmen and women and all their crewmates as they fly the flag for Ireland this summer. The talented group build on a successful record in the sport,” said club PRO Tim O’Shea.

Niamh Coffey is a multiple Irish and University Championship winner and has previously represented Ireland in the Under 23 European Championships.

In 2022, O’Neill rowed at Junior level at the Home International event and won a gold medal as part of the Irish quadruple scull crew in the 500m sprint event.

Both Buckley and O’Sullivan continue to compete at the highest level nationally with the University of Limerick Rowing Club,  and join the Irish squad for the first time this year.

The international selections come at an exciting time before the Olympic Regatta in Paris, where Zoe Hyde (Tralee Rowing Club) will be among the largest Irish rowing contingent of 16 rowers to contest an Olympic Games.

Killorglin native Zoe has previously rowed for both Killorglin and Muckross rowing clubs and will race the Women’s Double event for Ireland with Alison Bergin (Fermoy Rowing Club) in Paris.

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Valuable role of Kerry cancer support charity recognised nationally

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Cancer support charity Recovery Haven Kerry has been recognised for its vital role in supporting cancer patients and their families at a national ceremony in Dublin.

The renowned cancer support house was one of 16 such centres across Ireland that were presented with plaques to acknowledge their full membership of the National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP) Alliance – a group made up of voluntary and charity organisations delivering support services directly to cancer patients and their families. An additional 10 associate member charities were also honoured, including Kerry Cancer Support Group.

The Alliance advocates for, and supports, the development of integrated pathways between the cancer centres, acute hospitals, community cancer support services and primary care services. All members’ development is in line with the values of Sláintecare, seeking to provide assurance to healthcare professionals that these organisations are working to an agreed standard as set out in Best Practice Guidance published by the NCCP. 

Speaking after the ceremony, which was held at Dublin’s Farmleigh Estate, Recovery Haven Kerry Chairman, Tim McSwiney, explained that being compliant with the Best Practice Guidance for Community Cancer Support Centres is a true mark of quality. 

“It offers us a yardstick to measure what we are doing against the standards required. As a result, healthcare professionals have more confidence in referring people to our services. We are very proud to be a member of the Alliance,” he said.

Recovery Haven Kerry was represented at the event by centre manager, Gemma Fort and Client Services Co-Ordinator, Siobhan MacSweeney and were presented with their plaque by NCCP Lead for Cancer Survivorship, Louise Mullen, Clinical Lead for Psycho-Oncology Dr Helen Greally, and Minister of State at the Department of Health, Colm Burke. 

The event was also used as an opportunity to announce funding of €3m for the NCCP’s Alliance of Community Cancer Support Centres and Services through Budget 2024. The NCCP is currently in the process of distributing these funds which will directly and positively impact the delivery of services for patients and families nationally.

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