herald

Friday 15 December 2017

'My boy (6) faces liver failure if we don't get a house,' reveals homeless mum

Helen Lynch, who is homeless and from Tullamore, Co Offaly, with Charlie (on left) and her eldest son Daniel (7) (on right).
Helen Lynch, who is homeless and from Tullamore, Co Offaly, with Charlie (on left) and her eldest son Daniel (7) (on right).

A HOMELESS mum-of-two has claimed her gravely-ill son will be denied a place on a liver transplant waiting list because she has no permanent address.

Helen Lynch, from Tullamore, Co Offaly, said her son Charlie - who is six today - is in the final stages of liver failure, and he will die without a transplant.

Ms Lynch, her social worker and a consultant at Our Lady's Children's Hospital, Crumlin, have all appealed to Offaly County Council to find her a home.

"My son Charlie is entering the final stages of liver failure and urgently needs a liver transplant. He has no option but to have an urgent liver assessment and then to be placed on the liver transplant waiting list," she said.

list

"The liver transplant must be carried out at King's College Hospital, London. I am due to travel to London with Charlie next Tuesday, where he will have his initial assessment.

"However, as I am homeless I have been informed by Charlie's consultant at Crumlin Hospital, that it will not be possible for Charlie to go on the list."

Without immediate permanent accommodation, Charlie cannot get the transplant and he will die, his mother said.

The boy's consultant, Prof Billy Bourke, also wrote to council chiefs to highlight his plight.

"I must emphasise that this boy will die if he does not undergo a liver transplant and without immediate permanent accommodation he cannot get a transplant," he wrote in a letter, which was read on Midlands Radio by Ms Lynch's social worker Sandra McDonagh.

Ms Lynch said she has been on the waiting list with Offaly County Council for the past three years, but her situation worsened when she was forced to leave her home over the summer when the rent soared.

She said she has been unable to find any landlord in the area who will take rent allowance and she has been staying with family in overcrowded conditions.

However, Charlie cannot stay in the homes of his family or friends because of the risk of infection to him, she added.

"He is a happy little child. He never complains but he can't do what normal children would do," his mother said.

"I was living in my mother's house but the doctors told me it was not suitable for Charlie.

"I moved into a caravan in Co Kildare. It was my only option.

hope

"Without us having accommodation by December 2, he won't be allowed access to the list. This is his last hope. We've been fighting six years."

Dermot Mahon, senior executive officer in Offaly County Council's housing department, said officials are currently dealing with a waiting list of 1,850 applications.

"We are aware of this situation and we are actively trying to secure accommodation for her," he said.

Our Lady's Children's Hospital said in the interests of patient confidentiality it cannot comment on an individual case.

However, it stressed that time frames for organ transplantation are very short and it is imperative that patients can be contacted and brought to hospital as quickly as possible.

"Where travel to the UK is involved, there are even greater time pressures," a spokesman said.

hnews@herald.ie

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