Dear Dr. Reilly…

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An MS patient writes:
I am a patient of the pain clinic at University College Hospital Galway (above). After 12 years living with chronic pain caused by my Multiple Sclerosis a treatment was found to treat my chronic pain and enable me to live a near normal life; after years of trying various medications and blocks.

You can only begin to imagine the joy I felt that first morning after having a lidocaine infusion to wake ‘pain free’ it was akin to rebirth. I was in a position to be the mother and wife I had longed to be but was unable to become due to pain and the side effects caused by medication.

The clinic and I had a system where I would call once the pain began to return, as I am sure your aware each infusion is effective only for a certain time span; this can vary wildly depending on the stability of my ms.

I would receive an appointment for the day ward within a few weeks, this was managed in such a way that I never fell into the state of unbearable nerve pain I had had to endure in the past, in fact my pain consultant stated he would bring me in monthly for treatment if his budget would allow.

Since September I have been living with the pain once more, I am a victim of cuts at UCHG, cuts you sanctioned. I am now in a state of living death: sleeping taking Oxynorm then sleeping some more.

In fact I have now become dependent on the drug not just to treat the pain but because my body needs it! you must be experienced from your time as a GP how quickly a persons body becomes dependent on highly addictive medication, especially when used for more than two weeks; I am on week six right now. I have been informed that the earliest appointment I can have at the day ward is on November 21, a further six weeks.

I have now reached the stage where I believe this situation is an infringement of my human rights and most certainly a breech of the Patients Charter. I will be seeking a legal representative to force the HSE to meet the requirements of the patients charter and seek compensation for the physical and mental pain and suffering I am enduring and will continue to endure even after my appointment as I will need weaning off Oxynorm, all of which could have been avoided by a 30-minute visit to the day ward.

I await your response and plan for a solution to my intolerable situation

Jennifer Banks

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