SEVEN LIVES LOST

Hospital death toll to rise after scan disaster

UNIVERSITY Hospital Kerry has finally admitted that SEVEN people have already died prematurely as a direct result of the misdiagnoses scandal at the hospital.

And Kerry’s Eye has been reliably informed that this number is set to increase in the coming months.

One of the victims of the catastrophe at UHK was 72-year-old former chef, father-of-two and grandfather Tony Hannon from Listowel.

He battled to the end against lung cancer - after his diagnosis had been delayed for 51 weeks.

Tony died on April 15 at the Palliative Care Unit at UHK, surrounded by his family.

 

What happened in Kerry this week

After 22 years in Tralee’s town centre the fast food outlet Abrakebabra has now been forced to close its doors as it can no longer afford the spiralling cost of insurance.

 

Three American students who were dramatically rescued from a cliff ledge on Slea Head last weekend have said the traumatic experience had not taken from a ‘wonderful’ month of study in West Kerry.

 

Hollywood star Dominic West has been visiting Brendan Kennelly in Listowel. The pair were catching up on old times when Kennelly used to teach The Wire star English at Trinity College.

 

Listowel teenager Shauna Foley, who has cystic fibrosis, is anxiously awaiting news that she can travel to the UK for a double lung transplant - after being told she cannot have the operation here.

 

‘I just want to live a normal life’

A Listowel teenager with cystic fibrosis is anxiously awaiting news that she can travel to the UK for a double lung transplant - after being told she cannot have the operation here.

Shauna Foley (15), a second year student at Coláiste na Ríochta in Listowel, is ready to travel to Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in London at the drop of a hat, once a organ donor with the rare Group O blood type has been secured.

The family have been told transplants of this kind are not available in the Republic of Ireland, so Shauna will travel to the UK with mother Gemma and grandmother Clare the moment they receive confirmation from UK doctors.

The trio will have a tiny four-hour window to travel from Listowel to London, but cannot make travelling arrangements until the last minute.

“We have a transplant case packed now and we are ready to go whenever we get the call,” said Clare.

Rathmore school springs €200,000 roof leak

The roof of a state-of the-art school opened just 10 years ago has now sprung a major leak and there’s no money to fix it.

Holy Family National School in Rathmore has 222 pupils, 19 staff and eight classrooms. Built at a cost of €2.8 million, it was among the first schools in Kerry to use interactive whiteboards in the classrooms and one of the rooms is totally dedicated to computers.

But now water is pouring in through the roof felt and tiles, causing damage to the ceilings, floors and light fittings.

School Principal Paul Horan isn’t concerned that there’s any immediate risk posed to pupils or staff – but the problem needs to get fixed before it gets much worse.

Hollywood star’s visit to Brendan

HOLLYWOOD STAR Dominic West has been dropping in to visit Brendan Kennelly.

The Wire star, and his now wife Catherine Fitzgerald, was taught English by the 83-year-old poet and novelist when he was Professor of Modern Literature at Trinity College Dublin.

He has since retired to a nursing home in Listowel, where the couple drove to see him.

They had pretty much lost touch with him since they left TCD, where they first met.

But when they were told by family friend and former Arts Minister Jimmy Deenihan that he was in Listowel, they arranged a visit.

Catherine, who is the daughter of the late Desmond FitzGerald, 29th Knight of Glin, told Kerry’s Eye: “We both visited him because he taught us in Trinity.

Climber falls 600 feet to his death

A FATHER-of-three who died in a fall while climbing Carrauntoohil last weekend had delivered one of his own children during the rush to the maternity hospital.

Ger Duffy (59) from Shavrokee, Clonlara, County Clare, was laid to rest yesterday (Wednesday), following Funeral Mass at St Senan’s Church in Clonlara. His family requested donations to Kerry Mountain Rescue - 26 members of which had taken part in the search and recovery operation - in lieu of flowers.

His family paid tribute this week to a ‘hero’ dad, who was exceptionally kind and would have helped anyone who needed it, and loved the outdoors.

An experienced mountain climber, Mr Duffy had been climbing Carrauntoohil with a male friend when he fell about 600 feet to his death from Hag’s Tooth Ridge onto a ledge above Coimín Íochtar on Saturday afternoon.

Blooming good start?

Tralee Town Park is undergoing a belated spring clean - and it’s all down to Kerry’s Eye.

Last week, we highlighted how this wonderful Tralee amenity had been subjected to outrageous neglect, with major areas of grassland growing out of control and the famous rosebeds threatened with being taken over by weeds.

Now, however, there has been a dramatic improvement - and the Town Park is beginning to look a lot more attractive as workmen tackle the open areas with mowing machines and the weeds have been removed from rosebeds.

Council workers have been busy cutting grass throughout the 35-acre park, with significant weeding work being carried out in the Rose Garden and Rose Wall of Honour areas.

And with news that a full-time gardener has been appointed to maintain this wonderful public amenity, things are certainly looking up for this year’s Féile na mBláth festival.

Mark survives another Hellish Week

Garda Mark Cushen has nowhere to hide as he’s now amongst the final six in the RTÉ2 TV series, Special Forces - Ultimate Hell Week.

Garda Mark Cushen from Tralee has made the final six out of 24 contestants who spent a week in hell on a specially-designed course for the highly secretive, real-life selection process of the elite defence forces, which has a failure rate of over 90%.

Mark has endured to date sleepless nights, crawls through claustrophobic tunnels, swimming in freezing lakes, jumps from bridges, not to mention the wrath of the course instructors who specialise in hurling constant abuse at the competitors.

“There was one point, when the instructor came in and we’d forgotten to empty the bin in the bathroom. So he absolutely wrecked the room. I was standing there wondering what I was doing there - really questioning myself. We were a bit disillusioned then,” said Mark.

€16m IT Sports Academy opens

THE €16m world-class sports academy at the IT in Tralee opens officially this week.

The new Sports Academy building at the IT Tralee is a multi-purpose complex for students and staff and will also serve as the headquarters for the college’s Department of Health and Leisure Studies, the Cara (Sports Inclusion Ireland) Office and the Institute’s UNESCO Chair.

The facility cost in the region of €16 million and includes sports halls (triple size), three gyms for general, performance and testing, two aerobics studios, a dance studio, a massage studio, a hydrotherapy pool, an auditorium, in partnership with Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, offices for academic and support staff, offices for Cara and offices for the UNESCO Chair.

Head of the Health and Leisure Department at Tralee IT Michael Hall said that the opening of the Kerry Sports Academy building is a very significant landmark in the history of IT Tralee.

Grateful for my wonderful life

When Ann Laide of Caball’s was offered a ‘real job’ teaching in 1978, she turned it down in favour of the family business. Now, as she gets ready for retirement, Ann looks back on her time in Caball’s, Bridge Street, Tralee with nothing but fond memories.

Caball’s Toymaster and the Kerry Bookshop will cease business at the end of June. It’s with great sadness that Ann, who grew up in the business, made the tough decision to retire.

“I started working in the shop in 1966 when I was only 13, on school holidays and the weekends. Ann’s family has a rich history since her great-grandfather arrived to Kerry from Saxmundham, Suffolk, England in the 1800s.

“My grandparents, Mary and Arthur Caball, started the business in 1920. My grandfather was the last of the Caballs in town. The shop moved from Lower Rock Street to Bridge Street in 1938 where they remained.

Susan’s Wild Atlantic run for autism

A LEADING autism expert, academic and author is midway through running the Kerry leg of the Wild Atlantic Way in her quest to raise awareness about the condition that affects about 1% of the population.

Dr Susan Crawford has also been giving autism awareness workshops as she makes her way around Kerry and will continue to do so as she completes the 2,500km route which she started in Kinsale on March 23 and hopes to complete in Donegal in October.

The mother-of-one told Kerry’s Eye her inspiration for undertaking the run is her son Tomás (24), who has severe autism, epilepsy and autism-related catatonia - which is thought to affect up to 18% of people with autism. Tomás often accompanies his mother by doing tethered running as they make their way along the coastal route.

Keel Centre gets €200,000 facelift

Almost €200,000 is being invested in major refurbishment works at Keel Community Centre to provide a new kitchen, and electrical and heating system for use by hundreds of locals.

The plan is to return two rooms that served as the Castledrum National School from the 1860s to 1969 to their previous functions as spaces for community meetings.

Community Liaison Officer and Director at Keel Community Centre Tommy Griffin says the building is a central meeting point for the various clubs and groups in the rural community.

“We have a wide number of groups using the centre from Macra na Feirme and Alcoholics Anonymous to the Active Retirement Group, local crèche and the GAA club who use it for indoor training during the winter,” explained Tommy.

Critical care symposium for UHK

Nurse Theresa Winter, hailed a ‘guardian angel’ for saving a man’s life in the UK, has brought fresh thinking to University Hospital Kerry by organising the first Critical Care Symposium this May.

Theresa was honoured in the UK last year after she saved the life of a man who was having a heart attack as she drove past him on her way to work.

Theresa was honoured at the UK National Lifesaver Awards but is now back in Kerry.

She’s the Clinical Nurse Manager for Critical Care Services at UHK, and is being hailed a trail blazer - being recognised for her fresh thinking and for bringing the hospital to a ‘New World Order’.