Ireland must close intensive care beds for ‘gift of life to happen’ – Orla Tinsley

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Orla Tinsley, a double lung transplant recipient, said Ireland needs to fence off intensive care beds and operating rooms to ensure others can receive the ‘gift of life’.

Ms Tinsley, activist, writer and contributor to the Irish Times, is approaching the fourth anniversary of her successful transplant but has remained largely isolated due to Covid-19.

In an interview with RTÉ’s Late Late Show on Friday, she spoke about the recent situation where organ donation could not take place at Mater Hospital in Dublin due to unavailability of an intensive care bed .

“All it took for the gift of life to occur was that an intensive care bed be available, because after a 12 hour transplant operation you have to be in intensive care for a period of time. important, ”she said.

“It’s related to Covid, but it’s also related to the fact that back-to-back governments have failed to increase the number of our intensive care beds. So if we don’t have enough beds, no matter how well our healthcare workers do their job, they can’t facilitate [patients] when something is not available to them.

Among a number of actions required, she said, is the need for more intensive care beds and to demarcate operating rooms so that they are ready and waiting when the organs are finished. available.

Ms Tinsley has spent years campaigning for better treatment for other cystic fibrosis patients and began writing on the issue for The Irish Times in 2005. Originally from Kildare, she moved to New York where she received his double lung transplant in December 2017.

However, because she is taking immunosuppressive drugs, she falls under the highest risk category for Covid-19 infection and has almost completely isolated herself, except to meet her parents and walk for take-out coffee.

Addressing the public response to the pandemic, she pointed to the “clear and unchallenged” science and called on people to “hide”.

“Remember the people you meet outside, in the cafe, you know, your friend, your doctor, your plumber, your neighbor, they could all be vulnerable, they could be immunocompromised, you just don’t know not, “she said.

“I have an invisible disability. You can’t say I have cystic fibrosis anymore because I don’t have a cough anymore.

Ms Tinsley described how she received six phone calls warning her of a possible donor match before finally receiving her transplant.

One of her fondest post-operative memories was coming home with her cat Harper and not having to listen to the hiss of oxygen from a machine next to her bed.

“Whoa, I’m really free right now,” she said, describing the feeling of recovery. “Once I have enough strength, I can go for a run… three months later, 5 km.”

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