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Saturday 3 December 2016

Don't save him and leave him - family of dad with brain injury

Barbara O Connell - CEO ABI Ireland, and Tara Bedi, wife of Dominic Morrogh who is living with an ABI.
Barbara O Connell - CEO ABI Ireland, and Tara Bedi, wife of Dominic Morrogh who is living with an ABI.

The family of a loving dad who received a catastrophic brain injury in a kite-surfing accident have backed a campaign for more investment in rehabilitation services.

Cork-born Dominic Morrogh's (40) accident happened over four years ago, and he is currently residing in the Royal Hospital, Donnybrook.

His wife, Tara Bedi, gave a moving account of how it has changed their lives.

"We were your typical young happy couple who had just had a baby. She was eight months' old, and Dominic was a sporting man and an entrepreneur. He had set up a business with his brother," she said.

She told how she got a call that changed their lives forever.

"He had a devastating accident while he was kite surfing on Dollymount and he suffered a severe brain injury," she said.

Dominic hit his head very badly on the rocks, she said.

"He was lucky that a doctor came at that moment and sent him to the right facility," she said. Her husband was initially treated in Beaumont. He is now totally dependent, and residing at the Donnybrook hospital.

"They are amazing," she said about the staff.

"They have been really good with us."

However, she said that nothing is permanent. "I have no guarantee even today that he can stay there. There is nothing permanent about anything, and that is the limbo we live in," said Ms Bedi on RTE's Sean O'Rourke show.

Meanwhile, his sister, Dr Mary Morrogh, said Dominic remains in a minimal conscious state as a result of his brain injury.

"We move forward in our own lives, but always beside and behind Dominic, desperately trying to lead with hope and find some light. We need support in this fight, and we desperately need the Government to invest in quality services, for every person with an acquired brain injury and their family, wherever they are," she said.

The women were speaking as a new campaign was launched by Acquired Brain Injury Ireland (ABI Ireland), with the message: "Don't save me, then leave me. Rehabilitation is a right, not a request."

The CEO of ABI Ireland, Barbara O'Connell, pointed out that more and more people are surviving brain injury due to advances in medicine and technology, but due to the lack of suitable services at the different stages these people are very often only left to exist.

"Those living with ABI and their families are forced to live on the margins of our society. Many, despite their young age, are consigned to live in highly inappropriate settings such as nursing homes and community hospitals, or at home where families don't understand what is wrong with them, or what they can do to help," she said.

"In Ireland, neuro-rehabilitation services are patchy and varied across the country.

"It's a lottery as to who receives what rehabilitation and whatever the outcome will be. This is having a detrimental impact on the lives of people with ABI and their families. This cannot continue."

Priority

ABI Ireland has developed a manifesto calling on the Government to make brain injury a health priority. It has called for a dedicated programme of investment over the next three years.

Professor Mark Delargy, a consultant in rehabilitation medicine, said people with brain injury need to have a co-ordinated, seamless service from the emergency response right through to leading a meaningful life back in their own community with their families.

"Services are currently underdeveloped at every stage of the pathway. As a result, people are spending much longer time in an acute hospital bed with access only to very limited neuro-rehabilitation services," said Dr Delargy.

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