Similar Experiences

Young People with Brain Injury denied adequate Care

In Ireland, if you have cancer or renal failure, at least the structures are in place to provide adequate care. If you have a serious acquired brain injury, this is not the case.

Over the past months, we have learned about tragic situations similar to Pádraig’s. Sara’s, David’s, Shane’s, and Paul’s stories are of young people whose lives also dramatically changed course because of an acquired brain injury. All the families are desperately trying to fundraise as the State fails abysmally in its duty of care.

The story of these four young people points the finger at a health system that is failing. It is failing to provide these young people with the support infrastructure, timely care and treatment they so desperately need. Instead of providing immediate, ongoing, and specialized rehabilitation, it offers months, and sometimes years, in acute over-crowded wards with dangerous multi-resistant bacteria; wards that are under-staffed and under-resourced; wards that frequently have to be closed to visitors because of infection risks. The abyss these young people are facing is bridged by fundraisers. Where the State fails, people step in. Why is Ireland at the bottom of the league in Europe when it comes to rehabilitation? (See, for example, Irish Examiner, 03 Feb 2011, or data available on this web site.)

It seems that politician don’t believe elections are won by caring for people with Acquired Brain Injury (ABI). Health professionals voice their concerns but seem to be fighting a lost battle for adequate resources, getting increasingly frustrated, giving up any expectation that they might be able to affect change.

How can politicians and health officials sleep at night, knowing what is happening to these young people? Do they have any idea of the trauma and desperation caused by serious brain injury?

Here are the stories of Sara Walsh Delaney, David Cahill, Shane Grogan, and Paul Kennedy.

Sara Walsh Delaney

In October 2011, Sara was diagnosed with a brain tumour. She was 28 years old and married for just 4 months. A biopsy had to be performed to determine what type of tumour she had and what treatment she would need. A massive brain haemorrhage occurred during the biopsy procedure and Sara had to be put into an induced coma. Over two years later Sara is still in Beaumont Hospital. She has had numerous setbacks including 4 stints in ICU. Her tumour was benign and was successfully treated with radiation therapy. Because she has been inactive for such a long period she will need a massive amount of rehabilitation for both her mental and physical condition. All consultants and medical staff dealing with Sara feel she has good potential once she gets the right interventions.

In early 2014, Sara started her 3 months in the National Rehabilitation Hospital (NRH) in Dun Laoghaire, which is nowhere near enough. This is due to cutbacks, long waiting lists and the fact that the NRH is the only place in the Irish Republic where you can get rehabilitation. After the 3 months Sara will be brought back to Beaumont Hospital for an indefinite period. The family has travelled to the UK to look at rehabilitation facilities there. The Oxford Centre for Enablement is an NHS facility who will take Sara as a commercial patient after her stay in the NRH. The cost is £1,800/ €2,100 per day. The family feel that Sara would benefit greatly by going to this place after the NRH. Family members and friends are hoping to raise much needed funds to help towards Sara being able to go to Oxford.


  • The Story of Sara as told by her sister on Facebook
  • Fundraising Information Page for Sara on Facebook
  • Donate online for Sara via PayPal

David Cahill

In September 2008, David (21 years old at the time) went on holidays to Crete. On the second day of his holidays he suffered three major heart attacks. After two and a half weeks David was transferred to Blanchardstown Hospital in Dublin by Air Ambulance at a cost of 37,000 euro to the family. He stayed there for nine months, and was then transferred to the National Rehabilitation Hospital (NRH) in Dún Laoghaire, where he stayed for three months. In the NRH, he was diagnosed as being in a minimally conscious state, with profound brain injury. He was then transfered back to Blanchardstown Hospital for another year, and from December 2010 to early 2014 David has been is in a nursing home in Balrothery, Balbriggan, were he gets 24/7 nursing care. His mother underwent special training and looks after him every day. The family have adapted their home to suit David’s needs at a cost of 18,000 euro; every weekend they take David home. In September 2013, they decided to contact the AST Physiotherapy Rehabilitation Centre Cork. ( who saw GREAT potential in David. Three months intense physio will cost 30,000 euro. The family is fundraising for this.


Shane Grogan

Shane Grogan of Tuam, Co. Galway, was assaulted on 05 August 2012 and left with catastrophic brain injuries. He was 23-years old at the time. Having undergone emergency brain surgery in Beaumont Hospital, he spent over nine months in University Hospital Galway, followed by three month in the National Rehabilitation Hospital (NRH) in Dun Laoghaire, where he is underwent an intensive three-month treatment programme until the end of September 2013. He now requires 24-hour nursing care. The family is fundraising to cover the cost of his care. Shane’s father, Joe Grogan, was interviewed by Keelin Shanley on Morning Edition on RTE on Monday, 17 February, 2014, where is told Keelin about the accident, the current condition of his son, and the efforts of his family to care for Shane.


Paul Kennedy

Paul Kennedy (Class of 2006 of Templeogue College, Dublin) was due to start work in the Central Bank mid-2011. However, the weekend before his start date he had a tragic accident – falling from the roof of a friend’s house while on a weekend away. The initial prognosis for Paul was not good, he was considered to be in a vegetative state with no real hope of recovering any quality of life. He was in a coma for a few months, had to have many surgeries, and fought for his life every day. However, due to the tenacity and perseverance of his parents (indeed his mother Mary retired from the Central Bank six months after the accident), Paul has recovered beyond expectations but still has a long, long way to go.

Paul spent some time in Beaumont Hospital in the Brian Injuries Unit, then Blanchardstown Hospital, before transferring to the Rehabilitation Hospital (NRH) in Dun Laoghaire. He has subsequently transferred to a hospital in Donnybrook and will now (2013) be returning home for at least a portion of each week. He is doing well but requires a huge amount of phsyio and speech therapy. Last Thursday (early April 2012), he started talking for the first time in fourteen months. As he requires huge amounts of physio work the family want to bring in additional physiotherapists which will costs a lot of money and we are hoping (this run will) help raise funds.

He was in a coma for a few months and had to have many surgerys and fought for his life everyday. He is now in Donnybrook Royal Hospital and is doing well but requires a huge amount of phsyio and speech therapy. Last Thursday he started talking for the first time in fourteen months. As he requires huge amounts of physio work the family want to bring in additional physiotherapists which will costs a lot of money and we are hoping this run will help raise funds.

Paul’s family will need to convert their home to accommodate Paul’s return and they also need to raise funds to ensure continuity of his treatment (physiotherapy, occupational therapy etc.) so that he can recover some quality of life.


  • Templeogue College Union Facebook, Timeline, 05 May 2013, click here.
  • St. Mary’s College Rugby Football Club Facebook page, April 2012, click here.

Note: This page was put together by Pádraig’s father, Reinhard, based on information publicly available on the web sites quoted on this page. If you have a question, comment, or idea arising from the above, please comment here, or contact Reinhard via or call him on +353-87-6736414.

Published: 22 February 2014
Last changed: 29 March 2014

4 thoughts on “Similar Experiences

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  3. Adrienne Duddy

    My beautiful 22 year old daughter with cerebral palsy finished with central remedial clinic at 18. Her services are a joke. We get tired fighting a system:you are left with the baby.
    We do have a trust fund as a result do tedious legal battle. My advice is get a trust fund . Our daughter is happy. She also is very bright. Please contact me and I maybe able to share information. Best of luck.


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