Family wins fight to bring Joanne home

Thursday, 14th March, 2019 3:47pm

Family wins fight to bring Joanne home

Joanne O'Connor.

The family of a Tullamore mother who has spent over a year and half in hospital after suffering an aneurysm and a stroke have won their battle to get her home.

Joanne O'Connor's family claim that the HSE had wanted to transfer her from Midlands Regional Hospital, Tullamore to a nursing home as the cost of providing round the clock care at home in Chancery Close would have cost in the region of €1m.

Speaking to the Offaly Independent in late January, her husband Tommy said that Joanne wanted to return home and that he and his three children would resist the HSE's attempts to transfer her to a nursing home.

Joanne (49) suffered life altering injuries when she suffered an aneurysm and a stroke in August 2017.

Although an emergency operation in Beaumont Hospital saved her life, she was left paralysed down her right side, while her speech was also affected.

A little over a year ago she was transferred from Beaumont to the Midland Regional Hospital, Tullamore, where she has spent every day since.

The O'Connors' prayers were answered last week, when “out of the blue” Tommy says he was informed that she will be released from hospital on April 1.

“I fought so hard. I got a special bed for Joanne. I got a man down from Dublin. They said that it would take six people to turn Joanne but now because of this bed it will only take two, myself and my son. The bed turns at a 30 degree angle. I fought tooth and nail to get this. All of a sudden there is a massive reduction in the costs of home care,” he said.

After spending the best part of two years visiting Joanne in hospital every day, Tommy says that he and his family are still coming to terms with their good news.

“We are in shock to be honest. We knew we would get her home. I told her I'd never give up on her,” he said.

The O'Connor family now face a race against time to get work completed at the family home for Joanne's release from hospital.

In order to help with the considerable costs involved as well the costs of providing ongoing care for Joanne, a fundraiser night is taking place in Maunsells Bar, Portarlington Road on March 29.

Tommy says that he and his family are county down the days until they have woman he describes as “my world” home.

“We are just in shock. We have been fighting for so long. The kids are over the moon. Maybe we can get our life back together now.”

Tickets for the benefit night on March 29 are available from Fox's Shop in Kilbride Street, Leavy's Centra on Henry Street, The Hairy Barbers on Henry Street and Maunsell's. Tickets can also be bought at the door on the night.

In a statement issued to the Offaly Independent yesterday, a spokesperson for the HSE said: "The HSE will continue to engage with the family directly and cannot comment any further at this stage."

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