New alert card issued for patients with bleeding disorders

Card will ensure rapid treatment within minutes of arrival at an emergency department

Minister for Health Leo Varadkar pictured with Brian O’Mahony (L) chief executive of the Irish Haemophilia Society and  Barry Harrington (R), chairperson of the National Haemophilia Council at the launch of the new severe bleeding alert card  in Dublin on Wednesday. Photograph: Irish Haemophilia Society

Minister for Health Leo Varadkar pictured with Brian O’Mahony (L) chief executive of the Irish Haemophilia Society and Barry Harrington (R), chairperson of the National Haemophilia Council at the launch of the new severe bleeding alert card in Dublin on Wednesday. Photograph: Irish Haemophilia Society

 

A new card has been issued to patients with severe bleeding disorders to alert hospital staff and ambulance personnel of the need for rapid treatment.

Launched by Minister for Health Leo Varadkar on Wednesday morning at the Irish Haemophilia Society in Dublin, the card will also provide contact details of specialist treatment centres so that medical staff can obtain expert advice on how to treat a card carrier within minutes of arriving at an emergency department.

There are 775 people with haemophilia in Ireland, a disorder meaning the blood does not clot properly.

People with severe bleeding disorders can be treated successfully and their condition controlled. However an unexpected bleed or trauma can arise which requires immediate attention.

“Any patient who presents to a hospital with a severe bleeding disorder in an emergency situation must be treated immediately,” said Mr Varadkar.

“However recognising that a patient has a severe bleeding disorder can be problematic particularly for inexperienced healthcare professionals. And any delay in providing that vital treatment could have very serious consequences.”

Severe bleeding alert cards were first issued to every person in the country with the condition in 2012. The new cards are better designed and have targeted information on them for health personnel.

“The HSE has already contacted all the hospitals about the card. It is designed to ensure that all medical, nursing and ambulance staff in hospitals are aware of how to treat a card carrier within minutes of arrival at an emergency department,” said Mr Varadkar. “I am happy to say that Ireland, while it’s far from perfect, provides a world-class service for people with haemophilia with dedicated centres of care based in three hospitals - in St James’s, in Cork and in Crumlin.”

Mr Varadkar said he wanted to reassure patients and families that the best possible care would continue to be provided for people with haemophilia and bleeding disorders in the country with the new card being part of that effort.