Health Briefing


A round-up of today's other health stories in brief

3D printer makes new transplant jaw

AN 83-YEAR-OLD woman has had her infected lower jaw replaced with a 3D model created by a printer in the first operation of its type.

The woman’s jaw had to be replaced due to severe infection, but because of the woman’s age and other factors, doctors wanted to avoid traditional reconstructive surgery. The transplant was carried out in June in the Netherlands.

The new lower jaw replacement is created from layered titanium dust.

Diabetic nursing service for children in west

THE PROVISION of a specialist diabetic nursing service for children in the west means that children with type 1 diabetes will no longer have to travel to Dublin for treatment.

The new nursing support service will be provided at University College Hospital Galway (UCHG) and the Mid-Western Regional Hospital in Limerick, with 1.2 posts shared between the two facilities.

Fine Gael Senator Fidelma Healy Eames welcomed the announcement of funding for the vital service.

The campaign to provide a diabetic nursing service for children in the west was started by a group of Galway parents.

“This service will be a huge benefit to diabetic children in Galway and Limerick and their families. The nursing support will enable children with type 1 diabetes to get their insulin pump treatment closer to their homes.

“Up to this point, the children had to travel to Dublin for their treatment,” Ms Healy Eames said.

However, she warned of the urgency in filling these posts before June 2012 as she fears they could be lost if they are not filled early in the year. She intends to contact John Hennessy, regional director of operations for the HSE West, about initiating the recruitment process as soon as possible.

Ms Healy Eames said Diabetes Ireland had also been in touch with the consultant endocrinologists at UCHG and the Mid-Western Regional Hospital to ensure that the new posts appeared in the individual hospital plans for 2012, and she was supporting them in this call.

Reilly urged not to destroy newborn cards

CAMPAIGNERS INVOLVED in raising awareness of sudden arrhythmic death syndrome (Sads) have called on the Government not to destroy many of the records of children born in the State since 1984.

The National Newborn Bloodspot Screening Programme, which uses the heel prick test, is in operation since 1966. It was set up to screen for rare genetic diseases. It is proposed to retain newborn screening cards for 10 years, in keeping with new data protection legislation, and to destroy the rest. The Children’s University Hospital, Temple Street, keeps all the samples on what are known as Guthrie cards. Most of the samples before 1984 were destroyed by water contamination, but those gathered since have been retained and are regarded as a valuable database.

Dr Joe Galvin, from the family heart screening clinic at the Mater hospital, and the Irish Sudden Cardiac Death Council, has asked Minister for Health James Reilly not to destroy the samples. Dr Galvin said the cards were a potentially valuable resource in identifying people at risk from Sads, which is also known as sudden adult death syndrome.

A statement from the HSE said consent arrangements were reviewed when cystic fibrosis was added to the list of diseases to be screened for last year. “As part of this new consent process, the arrangements for archived bloodspot screening cards were reviewed, in discussion with the Department of Health and the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner. The outcome of that review is expected shortly.”