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Mum and full-time carer to teenager with Cystic Fibrosis demands answers from Health Minister over fears she’ll get sick

Mum and full-time carer to a teenager with Cystic Fibrosis demands that Health Minister over fears she’ll get sick.

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A MUM whose a full-time carer to a teenager with Cystic Fibrosis today asks Stephen Donnelly: Who looks after my daughter if I get Covid?

Siobhan Brophy demands answers from the Health Minister over fears she’ll be unable to care for 13-year-old Saoirse if she gets sick.

Mum and full-time carer to teenager with Cystic Fibrosis demands answers from Health Minister over fears she’ll get sick
Paul Sharp – Commissioned by The Sun Dublin

Siobhan Brophy provides round-the-clock treatment for daughter Saoirse[/caption]

Mum and full-time carer to teenager with Cystic Fibrosis demands answers from Health Minister over fears she’ll get sick
Paul Sharp – Commissioned by The Sun Dublin

Saoirse, who has cystic fibrosis, is on a wide range of medication[/caption]

Mum and full-time carer to teenager with Cystic Fibrosis demands answers from Health Minister over fears she’ll get sick
Health Minister Stephen Donnelly
PA: Press Association

The Dublin single mum, 39, provides round-the-clock treatment for Saoirse, who’s been cocooning since the start of the pandemic.

Siobhan — who’s backing the Irish Sun’s Who Cares for the Carers campaign to recognize family carers on the vaccination priority list — said there is a constant worry for all family carers across Ireland.

She’s urged health chiefs to back our call for them to be bumped up the priority list as a matter of urgency, warning that the alternative will cost the State a fortune.

‘TRAPPED IN THE HOUSE’

Brophy told the Irish Sun: “The problem I have is that Saoirse is under 16, so she’s not going to be vaccinated at all.

“The only way out of the house for us is if I were vaccinated.

“If I got sick, there’s really no one — because my parents are elderly as well and have underlying conditions — so if I were to get sick, we’d be in a bad situation.

“I’m the one who goes to the shops and chemist and everything.

“She has cystic fibrosis, and she’s been cocooning since March. She was supposed to start secondary school in September, but she was one of ten CF children that were advised not to go back to school because her lung function was deficient at the time.

“She started a drug then in November, and her lung function improved a lot.

“In mid-November coming into December, they said she could come back to school, but she was only in for two weeks before everything shut down again.

“She’s really only had two weeks; she’s been trapped in the house, like me. I joke that we’re kind of under house arrest here until someone gets a vaccine.

“Just so you have peace of mind because if I do catch Covid, who’s going to look after Saoirse? Because it’s a 24-hour job looking after all her meds.”

CF TREATMENT

Discussing her daughter’s CF treatment, Siobhan explained: “We start her meds at 6.30 am, and we don’t finish until probably 9 pm.

“She has to do four nebulizers that take half an hour each.

“There are pills, every time she eats, every time she drinks something, it’s constant, and you wouldn’t be able to pay a carer to come in and do that kind of care.

“It would cost the State a ­fortune to have someone here 24 hours a day.”

The hardworking mum also told of her great fear with Saoirse — who is due in hospital shortly for more CF treatment.

Siobhan is terrified she’ll have to leave the 13-year-old alone if she were to contract the virus, revealing: “Every three months, she goes into hospital for a check-up and stays in for two weeks for IV antibiotics. That’s been looming over our heads the past three months.

“If she goes into hospital for treatment, Tallaght Hospital is Covid central; there’s no doubt I’m going to get it.

‘WHO WILL LOOK AFTER HER?’

“Then I have a scenario where I’ll have to leave my child in a hospital on her own because I can’t go there and get Covid.

“If I were vaccinated now, that wouldn’t even be an issue. The risk is if something happens to me, and I have to self-isolate, who will look after her and give her her meds for 14 days?

“That’s the question we’re asking. Who does Stephen Donnelly expect to come in here for 14 days, 24 hours a day, to look after the people we’re looking after? I think he knows we’ll do it anyway, and the love of our family members is blackmailing us.

“We’ve been deemed disposable. There are 500,000 family carers in this country, and when it comes to election time, I hope they realize it’s the Government that’s disposable, rather than us.

“It’s like Stephen Donnelly has this block, and he doesn’t want to realize he’s made a mistake, and he’s blaming the HSE and blaming NPHET and the lot.”

WHO CARES FOR THE CARERS?

Mum and full-time carer to teenager with Cystic Fibrosis demands answers from Health Minister over fears she’ll get sick

HALF a million people in Ireland are currently caring for family members, and in doing so, they save the state an estimated €20billion per year.

The selfless work they do is invaluable to the people they care for, and it’s done without expectation or demand.

But family carers have been neglected in the Government’s Covid-19 vaccine roll-out plan.

Today the Irish Sun’s campaign ‘Who Cares for the Carers?’ demands an immediate review of the priority list.

We’re calling on Taoiseach Micheal Martin and Health Minister Stephen Donnelly to prioritize an important group who often plays a crucial yet often underappreciated role.

Please send us an email supporting our campaign and calling for the Government to add family carers to the vaccination priority list.

Put ‘Who Cares for the Carer’ in the subject line and send to [email protected] or tweet @IrishSunOnline with the #WhoCaresForTheCarer.

The Dublin mum isn’t demanding to “skip the queue” but admitted: “There are people who need the vaccine before us — for instance, adults with Cystic Fibrosis would definitely need the vaccine before me.

“But I would like to see us at least on the list. At the moment, someone who works in bookies or a hairdresser is probably above me on the list.

“We want to be mentioned and know there’s light at the end of the tunnel. The way the vaccinations are going, it could be next year before I get something. That’s not feasible.

“That’s the thing about family carers; we all see what the people we’re caring for are going through, so we know that they need it to stay alive, and we would always put them first.”

Backing the Irish Sun’s ­campaign, Siobhan added: “We don’t want to skip the queue; we just want to be able to care for the people we love.”