Sunday, 18 September 2016

Campaign Update

Last week since the initial launch of our campaign Cllr. Damian Quigg contacted me after he saw my interview on TV3 News, he explained that through his election to Kerry County Council he gained a position on the 'Southern Health Board' and is fortunate enough to be able to raise our campaign at a higher level. 

It has since been confirmed today that following the email I sent to Cllr. Damian Quigg explaining our Isabella's story, the facts around (CHD) and why it is vital that all expectant mothers should have a standardized 'free detailed screening', that he will be raising our campaign on Thursday 22nd September at the 'Southern Regional Health Forum' meeting in Cork. This is absolutely outstanding progress for the campaign and we could not thank Cllr. Damian Quigg any more for the amazing support he is giving us. Cllr. Damian Quigg will forward the response from the Health Forum to me next week so I will keep you all posted.

As in my previous post regarding the meeting I had in the Dail with Louise O'Reilly TD which 
Cllr. Damian Quigg arranged while we were in Dublin, he advised that as the Dail is currently in recess that Louise O'Reilly TD will immediately seek to arrange a meeting with the Minister for Health Simon Harris, during our meeting it became very clear that this issue has been a talking point and that the Minister would want to learn more, I have made it very clear that I will be part of every step of the process to ensure that our voice is heard and the procedures we request are put in place.

During my visit to Crumlin last week I was very lucky to see Dr. Orla Franklin, literally in the corridor which was pure fate, (a little help from above I like to think). Dr. Orla Franklin was Isabella's Cardiologist and as I explained to her about our campaign she agreed with every word that was said, while she was talking she had as much passion as we do, it made me think that if these scans were put in place and proper arrangements were made prior to the birth then Crumlin would greatly benefit also as they do feel the immense strain when these emergency cases such as ourselves come in without any warning, doctors and nurses scrambling around trying their best to find out what is going on, planning the procedures and even delaying confirmed surgeries to save a life, a life of a baby. I strongly believe that  Dr. Orla Franklin would be a great spokesperson from a medical stand point, she understands exactly what we should have put in place, she has seen these cases all too many times and I know her voice will be heard alongside ours.

So, that's all the news so far, to summarize we are waiting for a meeting to be confirmed with Minster for Health Simon Harris which Louise O'Reilly TD will be actively seeking once the Dail commences again, following on from that Cllr. Damian Quigg will be attending the 'Southern Regional Health Forum' meeting in Cork next week and he will send the response from that to me next week, so keep an eye out for more updates. 

Below I have copied the email I wrote to Cllr. Damian Quigg, highlighting our campaign to present at the 'Southern Regional Health Forum'. 

Dear Cllr. Damien Quigg

I am writing to you following up from our previous meeting in relation to the launch of our campaign for, CHD Awareness (Congenital Heart Disease) and to promote ‘Free routine detailed screening’ to all expectant mothers nationwide.

It has been found that (CHD) can affect one in every 100 babies, which is an incredible statistic knowing how many babies have previously been affected, with a large number of them only being diagnosed days after birth, decreasing their survival rate by more then half. As this is not a hereditary disease this means no previous health problems within the parent’s family history can indicate if such a disease could be possible. (CHD) is caused by a simple miss communication during the early stages of pregnancy, and can be diagnosed during a detailed 20 week scan.

As the heart being the most vital organ in our body, any such diagnosis must be referred to Crumlin during the pregnancy in order for surgeons to gain a clear understanding of the issues present and to outline a surgical plan to ensure all necessary arrangements are put in place upon birth. The mother would then have her baby in Dublin’s maternity hospital within the ‘Coombe’ which is located near Crumlin where the baby would be transferred immediately, however this was not the case for our daughter.

Isabella Eileen Sheehan was born by emergency C-Section on Monday 23rd May 2016 at 12.01pm weighing 5 Pounds and 1 Ounce. Myself and Kevin went to see her early that same morning in the Emly Ward, doctors present explained that everything was ‘perfect’ and they were just waiting for her to suckle before we could bring her home on Friday, our son Keelan who is aged 7 then went to see his sister, it was during this time the doctor advised that they detected a ‘slight heart murmur’ and they were running a couple of testes to make sure everything was fine. Approx 10 hours after she was born a doctor and nurse asked to see myself and Kevin in a private room and explained that her heart condition seems to be much more serious and that she will need to be taken to Dublin as soon as possible. As parents to be told that everything was fine, to the complete opposite we were absolutely devastated, more so that we had to explain the situation to our son who also suffers from ‘ADHD’. Kevin followed the ambulance and arrived in Crumlin appox 10pm that evening to be by our daughters side and to sign any paper work if an operation was to take place.

I had to remain in Kerry because of my C-section however I was told recently that Crumlin had arranged a bed for me in Dublin on the Monday evening but there was a clear miss communication within Kerry hospital to arrange transportation for me. I was later discharged on the Wednesday once I was able to be mobile and relatives arranged a car for the journey on that same day, while I still did not know what was happening with our daughter. The next day on Thursday morning we were told that Isabella had ‘Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome’ along with many other complications, they advised that because her heart was too complex that they could not even offer her surgery to save her. Isabella was christened the very next day on Friday and passed away in our arms Saturday morning, to which we then traveled with her back down to Kerry for her burial the same day.

We understand in Isabella’s case there was no possible way they could save her, however in a different circumstance if there was any chance of survival she could have well lost her life in transit on her way to Dublin because her diagnosis was not picked up and no procedures were put in place. Furthermore our surgeon in Crumlin explained that with ‘Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome’, there is never a heart murmur present which made Isabella’s case very unusual, only due to her further complications with her heart that this murmur was present, this would lead us to believe that if she had the ‘Hypoplastic Left Heart syndrome’ and no other issues with her heart the condition would not have been picked up after birth, and that we would of brought her home where she would of passed away unexpectedly, obviously causing us emotional distress.

As you can appreciate, Crumlin are already under immense strain and even more so when emergencies like ourselves come in, in many cases as serious as our daughters it takes time to investigate the full extent of the diagnosis and the planning process for surgical options. As Isabella’s heart condition was not picked up during her scans in Kerry, the Crumlin team had to start from scratch and the decision was not made until day 3 of her life. As a mother I feel I lost time with my daughter because I did not have her in Dublin were I would have been if this was picked up.

In respect of the HSE if these scans are put in place they would save an incredible amount of money as parents would arrange for their own transportation to Dublin instead of using the emergency services as necessary, along with many other resources used during an emergency situation.

Since my campaign I have received hundreds of emails from families who have also experienced the very same journey as ourselves with their babies being rushed to Crumlin for emergency operations. I am representing all of these parents along with future families that could walk the same fate as ourselves if routine detailed screening of all vital organs during pregnancy is not made essential within our maternity wards. In recent weeks I have learned that all expectant mothers in Dublin do receive these routine detailed scans, so my question is, why are not all expectant mothers nationwide entitled to them also? All vital organs must be screened to ensure that if anything is present, proper procedures are put in place upon birth.

Our babies are our future Ireland, and they deserve the best care possible upon birth.

I trust that you have gained some insight into our campaign and what our ultimate goal is for all expectant mothers nationwide. 

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you require further information or if you have any questions.

Thank you,
Kind regards
Jazmine Sands & Kevin Sheehan

A special thank you to Cllr. Damian Quigg for your support and we look forward to reading the response soon. 

Mother to an Angel 
Jazmine xoxo

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