Family must travel to Limerick for care

A Laois family is forced to travel to Limerick for treatment because there is no neurological consultant in the midlands who can treat their child.

A Laois family is forced to travel to Limerick for treatment because there is no neurological consultant in the midlands who can treat their child.

Ronan Weldon spoke with the Leinster Express about his family’s experiences with epilepsy after his son Conor began having seizures last year.

Ronan and his wife Sharon, have to take their four year old son to Limerick to see a specialist. They were on a waiting list for a Dublin based consultant, when they heard of a private one in Limerick through the Epilepsy Ireland Face book page.

“We are in Errill so Limerick is closer for us. We had our four children in Portlaoise, the paediatrics (dept) are doing a great job, but it would be nice if they had a neurologist there. We got lucky with ours in Limerick, and we have no problems driving down.

“But it can be so stressful, driving in an unfamiliar city or getting public transport, when you never know when your child is going to have a seizure.

“I know it’s not possible to have a specialist in every hospital in the country, but even if there was a clinic once a month in the Midlands, it would be handier for some people.”

Ronan is full of praise for Margaret Bassett and her work as community resource officer with Epilepsy Ireland, who were formerly Brainwave. The annual Epilepsy Ireland conference takes place for the first time in the midlands this weekend at the Tullamore Court Hotel.

“When Conor started playschool, Margaret came down and spoke to the staff just to allay any fears they may have.” Ronan and his wife Sharon encourage their son to talk about his epilepsy.

“We think it’s important that Conor talks about it, there is still a bit of a stigma around epilepsy. But as one doctor put it to us it is just too much electricity in your body.”

Ronan and Sharon will be attending this weekend.

“We went last year and it was very useful for making contacts and meeting other parents. Even to hear adults talking about their experience about having epilepsy since they were kids too.”

This year, Ronan and Sharon have a special interest in the conference with workshops for parents of children with epilepsy. While Dr Amre Shahwan, consultant of clinical neurophysiologist and epileptologist in Temple Street Hospital will also speak.

“This year there is a bit more focus on parents, but it’s also very important to attend to meet people. The more exposure, the more education people have around epilepsy the less stigma there will be”.