October 27, 2021

Man left languishing in €1,200-a-day hospital bed because HSE won’t fund move to specialist unit in Kilkenny


A MAN with acute brain injuries has been left languishing in a €1,200-a-day hospital bed as health authorities say there is no money to send him to a specialised care facility in county Kilkenny.

Darragh Stakelum (29), who is from Thurles, Co Tipperary, has been waiting for 16 weeks to be discharged from Cork University Hospital (CUH).

There is a bed available in an acute brain injury residential rehabilitation centre in Mooncoin, but the Health Service Executive (HSE) are refusing to fund the young man’s transfer.

The HSE says its budget for 2019 is spent, and that no more funding is available for brain injury sufferers until 2020.

Darragh lost his sight in 2016, and late last year diagnosed with a brain tumour. The young man and his family got a massive boost two weeks ago when his latest MRI scan showed the tumour was gone.

Tipperary Fianna Fail TD Jackie Cahill said the situation is “exasperating.”

Deputy Cahill told KilkennyNow.ie: “Darragh is in a bed in CUH at a cost of €1,200 per day. It’s cost the HSE €135,000 to keep Darragh in Cork for 16 weeks. The total cost for a year’s care in the Mooncoin facility is €153,000.

“He’s very depressed. The longer he waits for specialised therapy the more it affects his ability to recover his short-term memory. The longer he’s away from the specialised treatment he needs, the less likely his short-term memory will come back.

Deputy Cahill added: “This inflexibility by the HSE, to put it mildly, is taking the piss out of it now. The HSE allocated up to €1.5 million for specialised brain injuries at the beginning of the year, and that budget is exhausted.

“They are under instruction they cannot run a deficit in any of their sectors. The money is exhausted so no one else can be allocated funding for this calendar year.

“It looks like he could be in CUH until the end of the year at a cost of nearly €335,000 to the HSE. To place him in the centre in Mooncoin would cost less than half that and that’s what is really driving me mad.”

Darragh Stakelum’s case is very similar to the case of Kilkenny man, Ger Brennan, who suffers from dementia and is being kept in a bed in St Luke’s General Hospital at a cost of €1,200 per day.

The HSE says it does not have the €135,000 available to move Ger into a special care house where he could receive the one-to-one care he requires.

Both Jackie Cahill, on Darragh’s behalf, and Kilkenny TD John McGuinness, on Ger’s behalf, have made representations to Health Minister Simon Harris.

Both deputies are awaiting a response from the minister.

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