Dear Joe

February 11, 2011

Three years ago, cystic fibrosis (CF) campaigner Anita Slowey first contacted Joe Duffy on Liveline to stress the need for a purpose-built CF unit at St. Vincent’s Hospital* which would provide en-suite single rooms, to prevent cross-infection from other patients.

In October 2010, having endured a further 3 years of broken promises from the HSE, Anita again emailed Liveline to describe the hospital conditions that she was still in. Her deeply moving email was highly successful in drawing attention to the plight of CF sufferers in Ireland.

Anita wanted to be a journalist, she lived as normal a life as she could but the odds were stacked against her. She died in St. Vincent’s Hospital last Monday, aged just 24 years.

The conditions in which Anita was treated, directly contributed to her death. Cross-infection and multiple infections resulted in the bugs that caused the infections in her body, becoming stronger and harder to fight.

Out of the hundreds of antibiotics used to treat her disease, she ended up only sensitive to one. This is as a direct result of being exposed to other patients and their germs.

The HSE’s abject failure to provide proper isolation facilities, directly cost Anita her life. Yet another failure of our grossly mis-managed health service yet no-one in the HSE will ever be held accountable.

The contract to build a €20m specialised CF unit at St Vincent’s Hospital, with en-suite single rooms for 34 patients, was finally signed last October and the promised unit is due to be completed in April 2012.

While this is too late for Anita, her brave decision to campaign on behalf of CF patients, has ensured that others will not have to suffer the conditions which she endured.

May she rest in peace.

Below is an extract of the email that Anita read out on ‘Liveline’ last year, which has now been put to a piece of music that she loved…

*St. Vincent’s University Hospital, Dublin  is the national referral centre for adult patients with cystic fibrosis.


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