A MOTHER of three, frustrated and stressed after losing the medical card for her son with cerebral palsy, stopped Taoiseach Enda Kenny on the streets of Ennis on Friday.
Catherine Pender from Cranny told The Clare People, “There is pressure there. I just wanted to see him. You see him on telly all the time but it means nothing. I wanted to tell him what was happening.”
Ms Pender lost her ‘discretionary medical card’ for her five-year-old son Rory last September and was instead issued with a GP card.
“We need the medical card because we have several hospital trips a year to make, that is the way it is. They make you spend every penny of your own money, but they don’t see people have to live. I need money for my other two children and I believe it is very unfair,” she said.
In her conversation with Mr Kenny she explained, “My husband works in Shannon Aerospace as an aircraft technician.
“We are by no means loaded. I am on carers benefit and they are taking my carers benefit for minding my son with cerebral palsy into account, which I believe, is very unfair. It is €205 a week,” said the young mum adding that there is no consideration of the fact she must also provide for Rory’s two younger siblings Ava (18 months) and Sean (3).
Little Rory is non verbal but physically very active and not in need of a wheelchair, which his mother is very grateful about. However he does have lifelong challenges and needs constant care.
He cannot eat or drink without assistance and requires more care than his baby sister in this regard.
The five year old is currently having after care in Temple Street Hospital after a boxtox procedure carried out to stop him drooling resulted in complications resulting in a temporary loss of his swallow.
“He is on nasal gastric food feeding. He is not allowed to eat or drink until this wears off,” said his mother, only too aware that she will have another battle on her hands when he inevitable needs hospital treatment again.
“They gave us a GP card when they took the medical card. He has a long-term illness card that covers some medications but not everything. Because he is a child with a compromised immune system he would pick up infections and he would need a lot of antibiotics,” said Ms Pender, all of which add to her families weekly costs.
Mr Kenny told Ms Pender that local TD Joe Carey would follow up on her case. “The system that was in place was very uneven.
“In your case the community welfare officer would say of course give this woman a medical card; a community welfare officer in another part of the country would say no you won’t [get a card] so the new system is based in law,” he said to the mother and carer.
“We get a lot of these challenging situations every week. It is about getting a system whereby the state can supply support for children and adults that need it.”
For more see Tuesday’s The Clare People or visit our Digital Edition.