RTÉ RnaG Press Release

RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta – 
Press Release (07 March 2014)

            Mother appeals to Taoiseach for improved Rehab services


Pádraig Schäler, 23, received a serious brain injury in an accident in the US last summer.  In an interview today on Cormac ag a Cúig on RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta his mother, Patricia O’Byrne, described her experience of trying to get the correct medical treatment for her son, and the decision she made, together with her husband Reinhard Schäler, to pen an open letter to the Taoiseach titled: “This Broken Health System” earlier this week.

Due to the lack of adequate services for Pádraig’s care and rehabilitation in Ireland, the family has had to move to Hamburg, Germany, to ensure that he receives the care he needs.

Pádraig Schäler had just finished his studies in Trinity College last year when he went to the US on a J1 visa.  On 27 June he acquired a very severe brain injury when he was hit by a van while cycling on Cape Cod.  He had insurance, but because he was not wearing a helmet at the time of the crash, his insurance would not cover him.

Patricia told Cormac that they were inspired to write the letter to the Taoiseach after hearing his speech on Fine Gael’s new universal healthcare proposals.

Patricia explained that they transferred Pádraig, who remains in a coma, back to Ireland two and half weeks after his accident.  He was brought to Beaumont Hospital, where he spent 4 months.

“All the experts stressed the importance of early rehab in cases such as Pádraig’s, but Pádraig was going to have to wait 1 year in Beaumont for a bed in the National Rehabilitation Hospital.  Even then, he would only receive 3 months of rehab.  There are only 3 beds in the whole country for people with injuries like Pádraig’s.  The experts all said that he would need 1.5 to 5 years rehab, so even after a 1 year wait, he would not get the care he needed.”

Patricia explained that Pádraig’s father, Reinhard, went to Germany and was told that Pádraig could not receive care there as he was not resident, so his parents made the decision to move there with their son so that he could get the care he needed.  Their two daughters remain in Ireland.

“It was a very difficult decision.  Pádraig has a great love for Ireland, and our lives are there – my work, my husband’s work, our family.  But here in Germany he is receiving excellent care, and the doctors have time to spend with him, to talk to him, to stimulate him.  They have given us much more hope for his future”.

The open letter to the Taoiseach was published on the website set up by the family, caringforpadraig.org, and can be seen here https://caringforpadraig.org/english/.

Patricia O’Byrne was speaking today from Hamburg on Cormac ag a Cúig on RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta.

–ENDS–

Issued by RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta

Further information: 
Caitríona Ní Bhaoill, Press Officer, RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta
, 086 8769585, caitriona.nibhaoill@rte.ie

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