The national children’s hospital

 

Sir, – In the context of the cost overrun and the state of works on the St James’s Hospital site, James Sheehan makes powerful economic, medical and time-line arguments to change the site of the national children’s hospital to the Connolly hospital campus (Opinion & Analysis, March 21st).

In the interests of children, babies, parents and taxpayers, the time has come to set all political and institutional loyalties and conflicts of interests aside and to seriously consider Mr Sheehan’s proposal – before it is too late. – Yours, etc,

Prof CHRIS FITZPATRICK,

Consultant Obstetrician

and Gynaecologist,

Coombe Women

and Infants

University Hospital,

Dublin 8.

Sir, – James Sheehan writes that it is not too late to change the building of the new children’s hospital to a greenfield site. I am in total agreement with him. As a mother to a child with complex medical needs who attends the children’s hospitals, I believe that what we need is to build on a spacious greenfield site, not a congested and cramped inner-city site.

There must be room for maternity co-location as that is the only way outcomes will improve for critically ill newborns.

My tiny fragile son was transferred on his own by ambulance the day he was born from the Coombe to Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital in Crumlin to be seen by the cardiology team. I was recovering from an emergency C-section and wasn’t even able to leave my bed. His father followed the ambulance. It was horrific. The worry and just not being with my vulnerable baby were so upsetting.

I am one of the lucky ones as my baby was strong enough to make that journey.

Some babies just can’t and parents have no choice than to watch their babies die. Other babies who make the journey are not so lucky either and it often proves too much for them.

My son went on to stay in Crumlin as an inpatient for many years, and it is his second home.

We must future-proof our new children’s hospital. That requires one thing — space. It’s necessary for the hospital to grow, for the co-location of a maternity hospital, for parking, a ground helipad and green space for children to play. The healing benefits of nature and fresh air are not to be underestimated.

My son was in isolation in a tiny room for three years. He had no garden. He had no life beyond those four walls. Let’s make the future bright for our sick children. Remember some never even get to leave. The hospital is their home. They live there and die there. They deserve the best. We can only deliver the best on a greenfield site. Not the least worst.

I’m a member of the Extra Special Kids Group, a group of more than 200 mothers whose children have life-limiting or life-threatening illnesses or children who require palliative care. – Yours, etc,

AISLING McNIFFE,

Straffan,

Co Kildare.