Father of ill baby had to go to North for aid on Christmas Day

HSE apologies for ‘administrative delay’ after man’s Facebook letter to Varadkar goes viral

Noah Doyle, an 11-month-old who suffers from congenital heart disease.

Noah Doyle, an 11-month-old who suffers from congenital heart disease.


The father of an 11-month-old boy with congenital heart disease has spoken about having to go to Northern Ireland on Christmas Day to get help denied the child in the Republic.

In an open Facebook letter to Minister for Health Leo Varadkar, Adam Doyle explained how “on December 21st we ran out of the tubes and syringes needed to feed Noah and our local health nurses where no longer able to provide them without a medical card. When we phoned your department to explain this, an urgent request was raised to the medical officer with a response promised in 24-48 hours. To date, five working days later, we have had no reply.

“On Christmas day I had to travel to a hospital in Northern Ireland and appeal to them directly to get some additional supplies so as to keep him from being admitted to hospital over his first Christmas. Fortunately they were more compassionate than you and your department.”

‘Woefully underwhelming’

Beginning his letter to Mr Varadkar, which has been shared almost 14,700 times on Facebook to date, Mr Doyle said Noah was less than a year old “and has spent much of those 11 months in discomfort and pain, crying, shaking, choking, vomiting etc. As Minister for Health during that time, you have a significant impact on his life and to date you and your system have been woefully underwhelming.”

Explaining in detail the child’s condition he said “there are very few systems or parts of his body that are considered normal. He has required ongoing care from the day of his birth and is likely to need it all of his life” and that “despite this, what he doesn’t have is a medical card”.

He continued: “Since July, your department has first lost an application and then dragged its heals over a second one submitted. Your website says it takes 14 days but clearly a day to you is different to the rest of us. Despite a cover letter explaining that our application was a medical-need based application for our son, and accompanied by two separate letters from a paediatric and cardiology specialist, it took your department seven weeks to refer the information provided to a medical officer.”

He wondered whether the Minister “could do something to change the fact that the staff in your paediatric hospitals continually have to fight against your incompetent system to provide care for the most vulnerable babies in our country. They do an awesome job and we will forever be in their debt, but don’t you dare go taking any credit for the things they do, because they do it in spite of you and your system.”

His son had been given “a really sh**ty deal in life, but quite possibly his worst piece of luck was being born here, where meeting unrealistic budgets are more important than caring for babies and where paperwork and bureaucracy are more important than getting food into a sick baby’s belly. It borders on abuse, it certainly qualifies as neglect.”

Speaking on RTÉ’s The Ryan Tubridy Show with stand-in host Brendan O’Connor on New Year’s Day, Mr Doyle said the medical card for Noah from the HSE had arrived on Wednesday, December 30th.

Responding to the case the HSE said: “There was an administrative delay in the processing of a medical card for baby Noah. A medical card was issued to him [on Wednesday]. The HSE has contacted baby Noah’s father to apologise for the delay and for any distress the delay may have caused.”