Holding none of the cards

Many patients with serious and chronic diseases are being denied medical cards - but no one in officialdom appears to be able to give a good reason why, writes Susan Mitchell.

Susan Mitchell

Deputy Editor and Health Editor @susmitchellsbp
20th July, 2013
Austin Curtin, a sufferer of Huntington's Disease, with his wife Patricia. Austin was refused a medical card by the HSE. Photo: John Power

Last Tuesday, Patricia Curtin received a letter from the Health Service Executive (HSE) to say that her appeal for a discretionary medical card for her husband had been rejected.

Her 53-year-old husband, Austin, has Huntington's Disease, a fatal degenerative neurological condition, and his balance is already affected. He wanders away from the family home in Waterford. He retains the power of speech, but is no longer able to have a full conversation. "His illness is...

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