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Dublin: 15°C Sunday 3 July 2022

Boy who spent 3 years of his life in hospital is enjoying his first day at school

Liam Mac an tSaoi, who requires 24-hour care, wasn’t expected to live when he was born at 23 weeks.

AFTER YEARS SPENT in hospital, multiple surgeries and constant care, five-year-old Liam Mac an tSaoi is heading to his first day of school.

Liam’s mother Louise wrote on the ‘Liam’s Cause‘ Facebook page that buying his school uniform “was emotional”.

“We never thought we would ever see this day,” she added.

Liam Mac An tSaoi was born premature in September 2010 and spent the first three years of his life in Our Lady’s Hospital in Crumlin, having undergone 15 surgeries.

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Liam was born at 23 weeks and has suffered from a range of medical conditions. He has phenylketonuria (PKU) which can result in intellectual disability and delayed development. He had necrotising enterocolitis (NEC) which led to him losing his left leg. He also has chronic lung disease. Today, Liam needs 24-hour care.

Currently Liam is unable to speak and uses lámh sign language and his iPad to communicate.


After two years of Liam being incredibly ill, he started to improve. Louise and Liam’s dad Sean applied for a homecare package to take their son home. Unfortunately, they were told that they could be waiting for more than a year as the HSE didn’t have the resources to provide nurses.

In 2013, Louise rang Liveline and begged then-health minister James Reilly to let her bring Liam home for Christmas.

Speaking on Morning Ireland this morning, Louise said:

I contacted Liveline rather than spend another year in Crumlin, because I knew Liam wouldn’t develop any more at that stage. He needed to be at home.

Thanks to the overwhelming response, the HSE pulled out all the stops to recruit Liam’s nurses and arranged for him to go home.

[image alt="996872_183873731789520_1417894435_n" src="http://cdn.thejournal.ie/media/2016/08/996872_183873731789520_1417894435_n-296x279.jpg" width="296" height="279" credit-source="Facebook%2FLiam's%20Cause" caption="Liam%20with%20his%20mum%20Louise" class="alignnone" /end]

Lives put on hold

Louise said that having Liam in the hospital had been very hard on their family.

“All our lives were put on hold while he was in hospital for that length of time,” Louise said. “It took nearly two and a half years to secure a homecare package that let Liam come home to his home environment and that took an awful toll on the family.

Now the lads (his two brothers Cormac and Fiachna) are both working. We couldn’t afford to send them to college. We were paying for our mortgage here and also paying for parents’ accommodation in Crumlin Hospital. So money was very, very tight and non-existent at times.

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Louise also thinks that spending so much time in Crumlin has slowed Liam’s development, saying he was in isolation all the time and unable to play with other children.

We were told he’d have severe cerebral palsy and be very brain damaged. But we hope that his global developmental delay is due to his long-term admission in hospital. So hopefully, please God, as the years go on he’ll balance out to any normal child his age.

But Louise says Liam is just like any other normal five year old.

Like every other child he loves his trains, the television, just normal thank God.

[image alt="12510414_538023796374510_4980212372329026715_n" src="http://cdn.thejournal.ie/media/2016/08/12510414_538023796374510_4980212372329026715_n-225x400.jpg" width="225" height="400" credit-source="Facebook%2FLiam's%20Cause" caption="Liam%20dressed%20as%20a%20doctor" class="alignnone" /end]

Excitement for first day

Louise said she was delighted that Liam’s first day of school had arrived.

He’s come on so much. And we’re at the day now where he’s starting mainstream school now and which we never thought we’d see.

Liam had been up from six o’clock getting ready.

Read: All grown up: Ireland’s kids head to their first day of school

Read: Rhino from an under-threat species is born at Dublin Zoo

About the author:

Elizabeth O'Malley

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