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'I want my son to know I didn't accept this care' - Terminally ill woman criticises Irish health system

A 25-year-old terminally ill woman from Co Mayo says she wants her young son to know she fought f...
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

15.31 23 Sep 2021


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'I want my son to know I didn'...

'I want my son to know I didn't accept this care' - Terminally ill woman criticises Irish health system

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

15.31 23 Sep 2021


Share this article


A 25-year-old terminally ill woman from Co Mayo says she wants her young son to know she fought for better treatment.

Meabh Feerick was enjoying life in Australia, where she worked as a bar manager, while raising her son Noah (3).

However last December she was diagnosed with incurable Stage 4 melanoma after finding a lump on her head.

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Meabh moved back to Ireland with her son so that she could spend her final few months with her family and friends.

She has been told she has between three to five months, but can no longer have radiation as it could cause a break in her vertebrae.

But she told The Pat Kenny Show she believes she is 'losing time' after coming back to the Irish health system.

"It's been very slow, there's a lot of breakdown in communication, there's a lot of errors everywhere.

"I mean if I have any pain crisis or things like that I'm actually admitted through A&E.

"I've just actually finished in the hospice where I had an admission of almost seven weeks... I came out at one point of that admission, only to return again because I had picked up an infection in hospital.

"So I feel like I'm losing time also to the Irish healthcare system, because if I wasn't picking up these infections and things I'd be able to be out and making memories with my son".

And she says the process itself is time-consuming.

"I've been told by my team that if I have any issues, I need to go in through the ambulance.

"So I have to call an ambulance every time - previously I was sent for a scan, and they were just so over-crowded and over-ran that they didn't have time to do that scan.

"It was very important, it was an urgent scan that needed to be done, but just I was sent home and told come back in the morning.

"So they said 'You need to go in by ambulance because they have to see you and they have to do these scans'".

'I want my son to know I didn't accept this care' - Terminally ill woman criticises Irish health system

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'I do feel robbed'

Meabh says she wants her son to know her, and what she fought for.

"I do feel robbed, and just Noah as well - he's being robbed of a lot - but I just try and deal with it as best I can and that's all I can do.

"I've started doing a lot of memories and things like that for Noah as well, and making sure he has things that he can see of me in years to come when I unfortunately won't be around.

"I just want him to know that I didn't accept this care and I fought as long and as hard as I could - and I stood up to not being in this system that's slow and lacking in so many different places.

"I want him to remember all the nice things we did, of course, but just for this purpose I suppose I want him to know I stood up and I spoke, and I wanted better treatment and I wanted to fight as much as I could to be here with him".

'I had no symptoms'

Asked about her diagnosis, she says she didn't suspect something was wrong.

"The scary part is that I didn't feel any way sick - I had no symptoms as such, that's what I've highlighted to my friends.

"You don't have to feel sick, this was ongoing and I felt fine, it was just the lump that was on my scalp".

Meabh went to see a number of doctors, but nothing seemed out of the ordinary.

"The lump didn't start to change until it was biopsied, so before that it kind of did appear to be a wart.

"It was flesh-coloured, there was nothing really alarming - and I suppose when it did start to change, then they decided there were going to do a biopsy".

Meabh says it was when she needed a hip replacement that she realised this was incurable.

"I always knew that it was Stage 4 - because shortly after that I had another surgery in December of a right hip replacement.

"That was kind of when we realised it was Stage 4 and it was incurable.

"Overnight - it shows how aggressive the cancer is - overnight it actually had caused a fracture in my hip joint.

"And the next morning I couldn't walk or anything, so I was admitted then and had to have the hip replacement".

'You can deal with it'

She says she stayed in Australia as long as she could, but was told return home if she wanted to.

"To be honest my options over there were - just because of coronavirus and stuff - they were actually working out better.

"They were still doing surgeries, when I got home here they were kind of putting a halt on things like that.

"So I did stay there for as long as I could until they told me 'If you want to go home to be with your family, you need to think about it now'".

And she adds she is doing the best she can for her son.

"It's definitely hard to process, but I feel like the time I had in Australia - not being around family and things like that - gave me the time I needed to process it.

"I don't think you'll ever come to terms with the prognosis, but you can deal with it as best you can - and I think I have done that.

"I've allowed myself all those dark, gloomy days, I've had a cry, I've been angry and everything.

"But you just have to get up and get on with things... you have to keep your best side out, and especially for my son".

'I want my son to know I didn't accept this care' - Terminally ill woman criticises Irish health system

00:00:00 / 00:00:00

    

Main image: Meabh Feerick and her son, Noah. Picture supplied

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