Undaunted: No Doc, my disability hasn't magically disappeared

Steve Daunt reflects on why medical card officialdom will never go away either

There are times in your life when you see or hear something and go, ‘Oh god... Did you really need to say or do that?’

It’s often when the political system does something so mind-numbingly stupid that this happens. It might not be a world shattering event. It could be very personal.

Back when I was claiming Disability Allowance, I received a letter to call into the then totally inaccessible health centre for a ‘chat’ with a doctor I had never seen before or since.

The chat went along lines of the following:

DOC: So Steve, thanks for coming down. We just have one or two questions for you.

ME: Fire ahead.

DOC: So from chatting to you, it’s obvious you still have the Cerebral Palsy.

ME: Errr, yes. Of course I have.

DOC: That’s great so. Thanks for coming down.

I left that meeting bewildered. Seven years of medical training and the poor woman is reduced to this madness...What an utter waste of time. That night in the pub, friends scratched their heads at the total madness of my day. What other country would spend time and money asking disabled people if the disability had vanished?

A few years later the same letter arrived. Same dilapidated building but the doctor had changed. I think. I was prepared this time. My first scrawled line to the Doc was:

            No, the miracle never happened. I’m still wobbling.

I don’t remember if she enjoyed my angle but it was a short meeting.

All this happened in the late 1980s / early 90s but the memory rushed back as Lunchtime documented the real life tragedies behind the policy of withdrawing ‘discretionary’ medical cards.

You can read about it here and hear about it below:

Compared to them, my brush with officialdom is in the penny ha’penny place. The tragedy is that profoundly disabled and seriously ill children are being seen through the prism of financial drain on the state rather than basic medical need.

I can hear two counter arguments from off stage. Of course i know the HSE is a financial basket case but withdrawing medical cards is not a solution to this. Maybe if medical need was at the bedrock of an health service, the financial basket case scenario wouldn’t be happening.

We also can not wait until the medical nirvana of 2019 and Universal Health insurance. Peoplw and children need them now. The parents have paid taxes to pay for these services. It’s called a social contract.

The primary responsibility for this lies at the door of James Reilly. With one stroke of the pen he could make medical need the primary criteria for the awarding of a medical card but he needs help. Step forward Michael Noonan. You hold the purse strings. What have you being doing this week? Oh yes, you headed to Shannon airport for this:

Ah yes. New politics. I think not. The fact you want to plumb the depths of Paddy Whackery and decide to kowtowing to a man like Donald Trump. A man who funded research into proving Obama wasn’t American. You need a long hard look at yourself. You prioritise meeting him over finding an equitable way to providing health care. Yes, that was a real WTF moment.

Are you right there Michael, are you right?

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