THE very high complication rates for people living with bowel or intestinal failure (IF) — a condition where the bowel is unable to digest food or absorb fluids — is unquestionably linked to the lack of centralised, specialist care in Ireland, doctors have claimed.
The Irish Society for Clinical Nutrition & Metabolism points to a new Irish study published in the Irish Medical Journal showing 77pc of people with IF experienced at least one major complication with an 18pc mortality rate over the study period.
One third of people surveyed experienced a central line infection, which is largely preventable. More than half had emergency treatment and there was an average of 2.9 hospital admissions per patient, each lasting 13 days.
Dr David Kevans, a gastroenterologist in St James’s Hospital said that “patients in Ireland fare less well than patients in countries with specialist centres such as Denmark, the UK and just a few miles up the road in Northern Ireland.
“It really is a national disgrace that we knowingly provide a system of care for intestinal failure patients that fails to meet even the minimum standards of care available in Northern Ireland and internationally. We estimate, based on UK data, that there’s a minimum 12 avoidable deaths each year and many more unnecessary complications due to the lack of centralised, specialist care.”