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Dublin: 4 °C Sunday 15 December, 2019
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'When I was lost, I knew I didn't want to die... Having a life is the most important thing now'

Patients from the ages of one to 85 were on hand today at Beaumont Hospital to thank the staff who looked after them.

THE HSE IS the largest employer in the State, with over 100,000 employees. Many of these are on the frontline, working with patients round-the-clock, 365 days a year.

They stand at the coalface treating patients every single day but, today, staff at Beaumont Hospital in Dublin got a chance to receive a very personal thanks from the patients they have treated for the annual Honour Your Heroes day.

Patients as young as one year old, to 85 years old, were at the hospital to show their appreciation for the care and treatment they received from their nurses, consultants, doctors, physios and other staff at the north Dublin hospital.

Beaumont Honour Your Heroes 201710 Physiotherapist Cathy Keating with Keith Boyle Source: Robbie Reynolds

Keith Boyle was there today to thank physiotherapist Cathy Keating.

The 33-year-old is paralysed from the waist down after having a near-death experience on a work trip to Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia, earlier this year.

“After dinner one of the nights, I went up to the castle,” he said. “I think I just misjudged a step. I fell off a ledge. I wasn’t found for three days.”

He was reported missing after the first day he was away, and friends and family came over to try to assist in the search for him.

A man walking his dog randomly found me. It was about 15 to 20ft. I fell straight on my back. I had a complete break of the spine. I had surgery then about six days later.

Unable to move after the fall, Keith tried to conserve his energy by sleeping at night, and then calling for help every hour or second hour during the day.

“I never actually felt pain till after surgery, my body was in shock,” he said.

In all, he spent four weeks in a hospital in Bratislava.

“We flew home on the Saturday and by the Monday I was in a chair sitting up for the first time,” Boyle said.

He received intensive physiotherapy at the hospital, and has now progressed to learning the essential skills he will need living with a wheelchair.

It’s all going well. I want to get back to work and get my life back going. When I was lost, I knew I didn’t want to die. Now, I feel fine. Obviously there’s big changes, I can tackle them. Having a life is the most important thing.

He said he approached the tasks before him with a “cold logic”. “It’s something that has to be done,” Keith said.

At Beaumont Hospital he worked closely with physios such as Keating, and she hailed the fast progress he made in the short time he was there.

She said: “I enjoyed our sessions every day. It was amazing to see someone make progress that quickly.

Within a week of being back, he was transferring himself out of the chair and he was getting around. I’d go up to the ward to find him and he’d be gone.

Keating praised his attitude to therapy, and said that he is gaining his independence back by taking such a positive approach.

Beaumont Honour Your Heroes 201704 Clinical Nurse Manager Monica Cunningham with Mary Flynn.

Mary Flynn is from Drumkeeran, Co Leitrim. “I’m here today to present Monica with her reward for being so good to me throughout the years,” she told TheJournal.ie.

The Monica in question is clinical nurse manager Monica Cunningham, who has worked with Mary for over 20 years.

“In that time,” Mary said, “I had two kidney transplants. I had open heart surgery. I had two gall bladder operations. I had bowel cancer… and Monica has been there at every step.”

Despite all this, and now at the age of 85, she feels “100%”.

Throughout Mary’s health problems, she said that staff were always on hand to help out and accommodate her.

Cunningham said: “Ah sure, she’s a dote all you have to do is look at her. She’s the hero, we only just do our jobs. Look at her now at that age, she looks great.”

And now, having come out the other side, the pensioner is as active as ever. ”I go the gym regularly now,” she said.

“It’s a bit odd to have all these cameras around like this today,” Monica said. “There’s a load of people around who are more deserving of this praise than me.”

“No one’s better than you,” Mary added.

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Sean Murray

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