A Donegal man who survived cancer three times in the last decade has been told he can now receive specialist pain treatment at a major hospital after a u-turn by the HSE and the Department of Health
Thomas Keaveney, 40, from Lifford today thanked local people and politicians for helping to force the u-turn.
He said senators Jimmy Harte and Brian O Domhnaill as well as TD Thomas Pringle had been ‘fantastic’ in their support.
“It was like winning the lottery,” said Thomas today.
“I can’t thank people for supporting me enough. Thanks to those supporters I am now getting this treatment again.”
The father-of-two was first diagnosed with seminoma/testicular cancer at Letterkenny General Hospital in 2001 before being referred to St Vincent’s University Hospital in Dublin for specialist care.
Just two years later he was again diagnosed with cancer, this time of the stomach glands and chest glands, and returned to St Vincent’s for chemotherapy.
Despite the high-quality care he received, in 2005 the stomach and chest cancer relapsed and were joined by a cancerous tumour in the base of Mr Keaveney’s neck, meaning he had to return to St Vincent’s for aggressive chemotherapy.
After this treatment ended on Dec 27, 2005, Mr Keaveney suffered related pains in his neck and back and began specialist pain treatment at St Vincent’s from 2006 until this week.
However, despite the delicate nature of the support — which involves inserting needles which burn off the damaged areas’ nerve endings to provide short-term pain relief — last week he was told he could no longer receive this support.
Explaining the sudden change, a member of pain specialist consultant Dr Declan O’Keeffe’s team told Mr Keaveney this was because of HSE and Department of Health budget cut-related changes which mean hospitals cannot provide the care to patients outside their catchment area.
“I am delighted with this decision,” said Thomas, “I want to thank my family and the people at the hospital.”