Monday, October 12, 2009
Kids with Arthritis Deserve Better
Young people with arthritis decided that enough was enough and are joining forces with Arthritis Ireland to campaign for improved paediatric rheumatology services. Launching Kids With Arthritis Deserve Better during National Arthritis Week, they are calling on people to visit www.arthritisireland.ie to sign their petition demanding the immediate appointment of a second paediatric rheumatologist.
There is currently only one paediatric rheumatologist for the 1,000 children in Ireland living with arthritis, who also has a commitment to general paediatrics. As a result, children with arthritis are being forced to endure chronic pain, risk deformity and muscle wastage as they wait up to 13 months for an appointment with her. This is in sharp contrast to the international best practice recommendations that children with arthritis should be seen within 6 weeks of onset of symptoms.
Breffni Molloy speaks about how limited access to rheumatology services impact's on his life...
My name is Breffni Molloy. I was diagnosed with Juvenile Arthritis at the age of 13 during my first year in secondary school. As I live in Co. Galway, I was referred to an adult rheumatologist and she referred me to Dr. Killeen to make the final diagnosis of juvenile idiopathic arthritis.
At this stage, the arthritis had spread from my foot to my wrists, elbows, shoulders and knees. I was in a lot of pain and found it very difficult to do normal things like getting up in the morning, which could take up to an hour. I found it very painful to walk and spent nearly all the time in bed or lying on the couch during the day. I missed seeing my friends every day as I wasn’t well enough to go back to school for the rest of first year.
I have been on methotrexate for the last 2 and a half years, and have to have monthly blood tests done to make sure this drug doesn’t damage my live.
I had my last flare up before my junior cert this year and was started on steroids by my GP because I couldn’t get an appointment with Dr. Killeen before my exams. When I finally got to see her I had to return a few weeks later to the day ward in Crumlin to have my knees aspirated and injected with steroids. I find these three to four hour journeys to Dublin very tiring.
We desperately need more consultant paediatric rheumatologist in the country so that young people can be seen on time and receive the right treatment. For too long the voices of young people have been ignored, so I’m asking you please to listen to us now and do the right thing.
Please visit www.arthritisireland.ie and sign the petition for the appointment of a paediatric rheumatologist now! Your support will make a difference