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Meadhbh McGivern: "One year on, life is absolutely brilliant"

The Leitrim girl who had a liver transplant operation after a transportation failure last year is fighting fit after finally getting her surgery.

Meadhbh McGivern speaking to TV3's Ciara Doherty in her Co Leitrim home.
Meadhbh McGivern speaking to TV3's Ciara Doherty in her Co Leitrim home.
Image: TV3

ONE YEAR AGO, 15-year-old Meadhbh McGivern was waiting for a liver transplant, in “so much pain, so much tiredness”. Then in July of last year she was thrust into the national spotlight when a series of failures in transportation meant that the Co Leitrim girl missed out on a liver transplant operation in London.

McGivern went on to have the life-saving surgery two months later – and has given her first TV interview in which she says she feels she “can do anything”. Speaking to TV3′s Midweek – the full interview will be broadcast tonight at 10pm on the station – McGivern speaks about how her life has changed in the past year. She told interviewer Ciara Doherty:

One year on, life is absolutely brilliant. You can do anything because once you have no pain you can do anything. I have loads of energy. I can concentrate on my studies again and can’t wait to be like a normal teenager next year and just go to school, hang out with my friends and have the craic.

McGivern’s case became the subject of an inquiry by the Department of Health after the first liver transplant she was called for had to be cancelled when transport was not made available for her to get to King’s College Hospital in London in time. The HIQA report into the series of events that led to the cancellation found that four critical decisions led to the failure.

Meadhbh had a liver transplant two months later – in September – and it was deemed a success by the London hospital. By contrast, seven months on from the operation she now enjoys exercise – “Zumba dancing, jogging and boxing are among my favourites” – and has running a 5km distance as her eventual goal.

Her father Joe said that, previously, even a ten-minute walk would rob Meadhbh of all her energy. The operation made a “radical change” to her life. “She was a different child. It was just as if a light switch had been put on again,” he said.

The McGiverns recently launched Children’s Liver Disease Ireland, which provides support and information to other families of children with liver disease. As for Meadhbh, she feels so well she’s not even worried about next year’s Junior Cert exams. She said:

I’m actually looking forward to it. I don’t mind. They’re just exams.

Meadhbh McGivern: "One year on, life is absolutely brilliant"
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