Two Weeks Of Trauma – Part 3

Monday 18th April

An early phone call from Galway ICU telling us not to come down as Helen was  being bundled into an ambulance and being taken back to Sligo and to ring Sligo ICU that afternoon.  I rang at 4.00pm and was told that Helen had arrived but that we could not see her.  There was still a lockdown because of the Novo virus and no visitors.  We, ie. Paddy Jo, Danny, Helena and myself cleaned the house in readiness for her release.  We sat and talked, some of us drank wine, others tea.

Tuesday 19th April

We rang at 10.00am but still given a bum’s rush by the ward only news that she was improving.  She also got the hang of her new mobile phone and was able to accept calls from us.  She was in good spirits and sad to hear Paddy had to get back to Dublin today.

Wednesday 20th April

Restrictions were relaxed, we piled in the car and went down to Sligo.  I wheeled her down to x-ray for a scan on her kidneys and another sonar something or other.  Helen was in great form and anxious to come home.  We stayed a couple of hours and came home.  Later that day Helen rang and told me the wound in her groin was infected again and that she had to go down for further surgery to cut away the dead skin and flesh, both sides were blaming the other hospital for this further infection.  By now after three invasions at this spot the wound was large and deep and causing some concern to the nursing staff.

Thursday 21st April

We went down early but refused entry by a seemingly paranoid ward sister who in all fairness was only doing her job.  So back home it was another 70 miles on mileometer for nothing but at least we were able to pass on to the sister some change of clothing for Helen.  She rang me that evening to ask me alone to come in the following morning to see the doctor.

Friday 22nd April

A phone call at 8.30am from the consultant Dr Finan asking me to be available at the ward at 10.00am as she would like to speak to me.  I was there and she led me into Helen’s room, by this time I was shaking a little, it all seemed to serious.  Dr Finan sat me down next to Helen and explained how her heart was good, damage to the left wall which would heal itself in time and working at 75% efficiency which again would improve.  There was no need for any further action in that area.  They were very pleased with the outcome.

The groin wound was large and would take some time to heal, there was signs that the infection had been beaten but care, rest and nutrition was needed in hospital for at least another week if not longer.  The results of the scan on her kidneys done on Wednesday was not that good because a spot had been found which could either be a cyst, which was no harm or it could be a cancerous growth but only a urologist would know and a date was fixed to see her on Tuesday 26th April.  Dr Finan explained that she was going on holiday but that another consultant had been asked to manage Helen over the next week.  Helen was not in the least worried by this news that had only been discovered by chance and had nothing at all to do with her condition.  She said to me quitely that she had taken her GC Maff which had come from Switzerland some weeks before and that had cured her arthritis. GC Maff is a new drug that reboots the body’s immune system and is mainly used as a cancer cure but it is banned in England and Ireland probably because it is too good and if allowed to be given to all would spoil the cancer industry, which is massive.

Saturday 23rd April

Restrictions back on, Danny and Helena had to go back to Bradford with the kids.  I was now on my own and feeling it.  My e-mailing list had grown to large proportion and I spent my day assuring everybody that things were good and that Helen should be out in about a week’s time.

Sunday 24th April

Still no visiting and Helen was going up the wall with boredom and hospital life.  She had refused them any more blood tests or any other invasion of her body.  She wanted out and would willingly sign herself out.  The temporary consultant was called out and he spent an hour with Helen and the nursing sister discussing the case.  Helen wanted to go, the sister wanted her to stay, the consultant was ambivalent but took Helen’s forthrightness into consideration and told Helen to ring me and for me to be at the hospital at 9.00am the following morning when he would look at her condition then and decide.

Monday 25th April

I was there at the appointed time, Helen had been moved to a medical ward the previous night and after short time the doctor arrived followed by entourage.  Again he made a half hearted attempt to persuade Helen to stay but the bit was between her teeth, she smelled the fresh air, like a young horse kept in the stable for winter, she was bucking, there was no stopping her.  However formalities had to be overcome.  It was arranged now that the urologist would see her in out-patients in a couple of weeks time, the district nurse had to be contacted and daily visits to dress the wound had to be arranged.  Also her long forgotten heart would be further inspected in out-patients in a months time and that was arranged.  Prescriptions had to be written out, letters had to be written.  All of which took several hours.  We shared the hospital lunch, which was very good.  Helen had always said the old story about rotten hospital food certainly did not apply in either Galway or Sligo.  Eventually at 3.00pm we were released.  Was I glad to get her home.  She was looking ten years younger, she weighed 62 kilos and was looking great.  It was her positivity that had made this happen.

Tuesday to Sunday 26th April to 1st May

Daily visits from some very able district nurses as the wound slowly started to heal.  On Tuesday Helen was very tired and subdued but by Sunday she was yelling out orders for me.  Neighbours came round knowing by her shouts that she was home.  Things were slowly returning to normal.  I kept the kids informed on a daily basis.  Again it was time for reflection and time to count our lucky stars that she was where she was when it happened.  In chronological order I would like to thank the following for helping to bring my dear wife back to me.

  1. Dr Barry Cosgrove of Boyle Health Centre
  2. The Acute Assessment Unit at Sligo Hospital
  3. The Resuscitation Team at Sligo Hospital
  4. Dr Kathleen Finan at Sligo Hospital
  5. The two helicopter pilots who took her to Galway
  6. Mary Menton and Robin for driving me to Galway that first day
  7. All the staff of the Intensive Care Unit at Galway Hospital
  8. All my children for dropping everything and scurrying to Galway
  9. Mr Gerry Hallahan of Ballyvourney in Cork
  10. Mr Shay Livinstone of the Connaught Hotel in Galway
  11. All the staff of the Intensive Care Unit at Sligo hospital
  12. All our friends and neighbours who showed concern.  We have had e-mails, letters and cards from Australia, Greece, Morocco, France, Spain Sweden, England, all over Ireland, America and Canada.  We thank you ever so much.

Improvement, relaxation, sleep and a glass or two of wine are the order of the day as Helen returns to normality and we thank our lucky stars.  Helen had masses of instruments and screens to aid her recovery, Lazarus only had Jesus but I do not believe that old baloney.  Do you?

Two Weeks Of Trauma – Part 2

Tuesday April 12th

After a night of disturbed reflective sleep, I was up early at 6.00am.  The management of the hotel had given us a splendid suite of rooms, two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a living room and a fully equipped kitchen.  All night long I was pondering on the resuscitation team and wondering how they appeared so quickly to save Helen’s life.  Do they sit around smoking a fag and drinking cups of whatever waiting for an emergency to arise or are they dragged at a moments notice from all areas of the hospital.  Wherever they came from it does not really matter, they like Jesus brought Lazarus/Helen back to life for which I am and will be eternally grateful.  However she has still a long road to travel.  Her father and a good few of his brothers and two of Helen’s brothers had died suddenly of heart failure.  We were lucky in that she decided to go into arrest in the best possible place.

We rang intensive care, who told us Helen had a comfortable night and that she was going down for an angiogram at 10.00am and not to come before lunch time.  We got a bus into Eyre Square and walked the tourist trail down Shop St, into the Church of Ireland cathedral to look at the tattered remains of the Connaught Rangers Colours presented by the regiment over a 100 years before.  We had lunch in the King’s Head and toured the Catholic cathedral looking for the stained glass window dedicated to the Connaught Rangers and slowly made our way to the hospital.

We were in the waiting room when Helen came up in the lift, still sedated, still surrounded by many screens, still looking like a pin cushion with all the apparatus stuck in her body but with a thumbs up from the doctor who accompanied the porters.  After about an hour Louise arrived from England with young Albie and we were let in to see her two at a time.  She was pale, still sedated but she had been cleansed of spouts of blood, all the machines and screens were working and telling the tale to the medical observers.  The only thing I recognised was her blood pressure being very low but the constant and steady bleep, bleep telling us her heart was beating and working in a regular manner.

She was a mass of bruises, on her legs, arms, throat and chest but she was living, breathing and fighting.  Her body moved slightly, her eyes flickered open, she held her hand out to me which I tenderly grasped and then she fell back into her sedated state.  She said afterwards that she remembered seeing Jamie with me.  We took it in turns to sit with her for a while and the sister told us the results of the angiogram.  The angiogram is a thin tube with a camera at the tip which is inserted into a large vein in the groin and it goes round the body looking for clots or damage to the cardiac system.  No clots were found, no stents needed, her heart and blood vessels were as clear as the day she was born.  The medics were scratching their heads at this point.

We went back to the hotel, had a feed and a few drinks and slept a better sleep than the previous night.

Wednesday 13th April

The hotel rang us early, a haematoma had occurred in the groin underneath the skin caused by the thinners that Sligo had pumped into her body to ensure any clot was dissolved, these thinners had stopped the vein, where the angiogram incision was made, from healing and was haemorraging blood into her flesh.  She had to go down to surgery, drain the haematoma and reseal the vein.  After lunch we arrived again, by now Katy had arrived from Morocco and Paul from Manchester.  Helen was coming round after sedation, by now a lot of the tubes and lines had been removed.  She was still being fed by a tube down her throat and could not speak.  Her colour was coming back and things were looking good.  After a few hours we left, she was very tired and needed peace.

I was feeling guilty about the free hotel rooms and saw the receptionist.  I told her it was very nice of the hotel to put us up for nothing the first night but that I would like to pay for the rest of the stay, she smiled went away and quickly returned to say that Shay Livinstone, the hotel manager, had said we were to pay for nothing.  I walked away embarrassed and emotional.  At times like this man’s humanity shines through.

Thursday 14th April

Into hospital early and we found Helen in good form, the feeding tube had been removed and she was croakily able to speak a few words. Everybody by now was relaxed, things were improving by the day.  By now I was in the same clothes for four days and people tended to shy away from me.  Louise , Albie and I decided to head back to Boyle and sort the house out and clean ourselves up. Katy and Paddy Jo stayed on for another day.

Friday 15th April

By now there was talk of Helen being sent back to Sligo, beds were scarce in Galway’s ICU.  Katy and Paddy were with her and we stayed put.  They joined us in Boyle that evening with the news that there was no beds available and that the hospital was on lockdown because of the novo virus bug.  No admissions only emergency ones and no visitors.  Paul went back to Manchester today.

Saturday 16th April

Louise, Paddy, Albie and I drove down to Galway, a tedious two hour drive of 80 odd miles on bad roads.  Katy had said her goodbyes and had taken the plane to Gatwick on her first leg home.  Helen thankfully was in great shape, I wheeled her down for scans and sonar examinations, the medics were still scratching their heads as to the cause of her attack and were examining every part of her body, lungs, kidney, liver and brain to find out where the clot originated but without a clot it was difficult.  Everywhere they looked was trouble free.

We were not too bothered, we had her back and that was all we could think of.  The staff in Galway ICU were great and they allowed us to come and go as we pleased whilst they got on with looking after some very serious looking cases.  We returned to Boyle with no news of the return to Sligo.

Sunday 17th April

Louise had to get back to Manchester and there was news that Danny, his wife Helena and their two boys Hamzah and Yayah had left Bradford in Yorkshire, heading for Holyhead.  We were heading for Galway again and Louise said she would cook us all a meal before she left for Knock.  Down we went taking a different route to escape the boredom.  Helen was in fine form, no more tubes or lines.  Danny arrived at 4.00pm having made great time from Dublin, unfortunately the kids were only allowed in for a few minutes.  We stayed for an hour and made the journey back home, leaving Helen in even better form and in good care.  Louise had made a wonderful vegetable Biryani and a Chana Dahl for the visitors which was gobbled down after their long day travelling.  Yayah, at nine months old was also starting to travel.  He made his first three steps that evening.

Two Weeks Of Trauma – Part 1

On the Sunday afternoon of 10th April my wife of 43 years and one month took a funny turn.  Sitting in an armchair reading her kindle, she started struggling to breath, she could not speak but after a couple of minutes things returned to normal. She had not been too well for a few weeks and her dislike of doctors forbade me from ringing the Health Centre. The complaint seemed to be concentrated on her chest and she was coughing up balls of white phlegm. Her condition was worse at night and she put it down to congestion of the lungs – whatever that might be. She finally agreed that I should take her to the doctor the following day.
Monday 11 April 2016
After a bad night she asked me to ring the doctor at 8.00am, luckily I had his mobile no., I explained the case and that she was not able to walk. He was at the house in 15 minutes. He checked her lungs with a stethoscope and said they were clear and he pulled me out of the bedroom. “It’s her heart” he said “possibly in the early stages of arrest. We have to get her to Sligo as soon as possible, should I call an ambulance”. I told him I would get her there quicker. In the 10 metre walk to the car she had to stop three times gasping for breath. We broke all records on our 30 mile trek to hospital and I escorted her into the Acute Assessment Unit. Our doctor, Barry Cosgrove, had rang ahead and they were waiting for us.
Blood tests first and then a long verbal examination of her symptoms and activities. Helen had calmed down by this time and after a couple of hours told me to go home and e-mail the kids and come back later. We have six children, all grown up and sufficiently independent but scattered all over the place, in England, Ireland and Africa.
They all said they would come as soon as. Helen rang and told me the eight or nine blood tests on different functions had all failed miserably and her blood pressure was 180/130, the second figure giving cause for alarm. By now it was lunch time and the Unit were going to start a physical examination after lunch.
I was calm, Paddy Jo in Dublin was finishing work and coming down on an afternoon train. I was making a chicken curry for her arrival, the onions were cooking in a pan, when the phone rang. It was the nurse I had met that morning who was looking after her. “Mr Malpas, Helen is very ill and I think you should come up as quickly as you can.” I started to ask questions but she stopped me. “Just get here as soon as you can”. I was a mile up the road when I remembered the onions. I raced back, took the pan off the stove and if I broke records that morning delivering Helen to the hospital, I broke them again that afternoon.
The nurse, a lovely young lady, was waiting for me in AAU. She told me straightaway that Helen had had a massive heart attack, had died but the resuscitation team had assembled and got her heart going again and that she was now in the Resus Room. By now I was a trembling wreck as the nurse took me the few yards to where Helen was.
There was eight or nine people round her, her night dress was in tatters there were tubes and pipes going into every limb, down her throat, into her neck, she appeared inhuman. The team were working at 100mph, they were sweating with the effort. It was as if she was a piece of meat they were preparing for the butcher’s counter, no emotion, just high tempo action. Her poor body was awash with blood from the various insertions. The consultant in charge signalled me out into a side room.
“Helen is very poorly, we have brought her back and she is now sedated and importantly living but her vital signs are weak. Our only hope is to get her to Galway Hospital where they have the machines to keep her alive. She is not fit for the ambulance and we have called in a helicopter. She is not fit for that journey either but it is our only chance.”
We went back into the Resus Room, they were preparing her for the 100 yard journey by ambulance to the helipad. There were that many machines attached to her, it took 30 minutes to transfer her from bed to stretcher. The medical team was that big, there was no room in the helicopter for me. They told me to make my way down the 120 miles or so by car. They wheeled her out, her face a vivid purple, I was crying, that was the last I see of her I thought.
I was in a quandary, Paddy Jo was on the 5.30 train to Sligo. As I drove away from the hospital it was a savage evening, pouring rain, the top half of Ben Bulben covered with low cloud. I thought how could they fly to Galway in this weather. I went home first and as I drove in the gate, Mary our next door neighbour was driving into her’s. I got out of the car, she immediately realised the seriousness and pulled me a big slug of whiskey whilst I blurted out the horror of the afternoon. She immediately volunteered to bring me to Galway, contacted Paddy Jo and told her Helen was in Galway and to make her way there. Robin, Mary’s friend, pulled in from Dublin and the two of them prepared for the journey. I e-mailed the rest of the kids, sat in the back seat of Mary’s car and wept the whole way to Galway.
Helen had been put into Cardiac Intensive Care, we found it and there was Paddy Jo plus Jamesie, her boyfriend waiting. The doctor led us into the unit and let us look at poor Helen, she lay there motionless, unconscious, surrounded by machines making all kinds of noises. This wonderful doctor led us into a side room and explained Helen’s condition. How she was sedated, comfortable and living and that all her functions were working and that if nothing drastic happens she should be OK.
Jamesie’s father in Cork had pulled a few strings and got us fixed up in the Connaught Hotel in Renmore, the biggest Hotel in Galway. We thanked Mary and Robin for their absolute kindness and phoned a taxi, we arrived at the hotel at 11.00pm, had a quick drink and to bed after the longest and most traumatic day of my life.

The Law Is A Fucking Ass

If the dust has settled, it is possibly now a time for analysis. Let us take for a start the Manchester Evening News article on 26th March 2016. The headline says that the victims had dropped the legal action against the Salford Diocese. In fact they did not drop it at all, the insurance company you need, in order to bring a case of this nature to court, backed out of the deal because in their opinion causation and limitation might fail. Our solicitors were willing to continue and bear their own costs but could not and would not cover the defence costs which could amount to two million pounds. The poor victims for their own family’s well-being dare not lay their assets on the line. So it was advised by counsel to approach the Diocesan solicitors and look for settlement under the Judicial College guidelines which would have amounted to something between £10,000 and £50,000 per man depending on the severity.
The defence solicitors, not being honourable men, approached the Bishop, who is not an honourable man and decided between themselves that as the victims were in an invidious position they would dishonourably tell them to fuck off. The case therefore collapsed, it was not dropped. Bishop “Hardman” Arnold, who had been put into place for such a scenario, could at this point have done the honourable thing and gained the Church some much needed kudos. He missed the beat here and will eventually suffer in front of his maker but I do not think he believes in that old mumbo jumbo and anyway he has had previous in Westminster, hence his soubriquet.
Further down the article it says that St Bede’s College is now an independent mixed-sex school and not operated by the Diocese. Well that may well be the case legally now I suppose but there is still a clerical presence even though most of the priestly governors have been politically removed, but this Hardman Arnold is there sitting prettily at table.
In the statement by the Diocese it says abusive behaviour (here they mean rape of young children by priests) has absolutely no place in the Catholic Church. Well that line might look good on paper but it is a lie. The rape of children by clerics is still endemic in the Holy Roman Catholic Church. Ask Enda Kenny whose speech I quoted in my last posting “Abuse: Its Forms and Failures”. I quote again “this calculated withering position being the polar opposite of the radicalism, humility and compassion upon which the Roman Church was founded”.
The statement continues “we wish to reiterate that the health, safety and well being of every child is always our priority”. Well it wasn’t five years ago under that laughing stock of a priest, Barry O’Sullivan, the Coordinator of the Safeguarding Commission.
So there we have it, case closed, nothing to see here, but are we sure.
Looking back on the six years I have devoted to the case, has there been any positives. Well certainly:-
1. The whole world now know of the abuse that took place at St Bede’s College in Manchester overseen by several bishops starting with Bishop Henry Marshall, who had intimate knowledge of Thomas Duggan’s baser nature. Then there was Bishop George Beck, who would have been aware of Duggan’s antics, followed by Bishop Thomas Holland who wiped the files clean of nefarious activity. Then came Bishop Patrick Kelly who along with Holland oversaw Fr William Green’s activities and finally Bishop Terence Brain who was overloaded with allegations against his darling priests. This abuse was reported in the media in Africa, India, Australia, America and Canada to my knowledge.
2. The sole purpose of Hardman Arnold’s appointment was to tighten up the Diocese. Hardman had earned his spurs in Westminster. Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, knew to recommend him for this post after the sterling work Arnold had done in closing down controversy in his diocese. Before he is finished Hardman will have Salford as tight as a drum. There will be no more leaks of information or semen for that matter.  For previous history Google Michael Doherty and Bishop John Arnold and follow the thread.

3. This campaign of mine has re-organised St Bede’s College enormously. We got rid of an under-performing abject headmaster, a preening, self-serving Chair of Governors and in fact nearly the whole Board tended their resignation for fear of what was coming down the tracks at them. We certainly got rid of a lot of dead wood and the school now seems to be coming back onto an even keel and rightly so. The teachers just need to tell the kids how to perform in external examinations now.
There were many negative aspects as well:-
1. I shudder to see the mental state the victims were left in. Having been offered up as sacrificial lambs the Diocese has behaved abominably in not performing some form of reparation. The lads are in an awful depressed state. One of the lads was telling me over the weekend that he was most distressed. He had had long periods of depression since leaving school and he has a therapeutic tool he uses. He called it the Empty Chair. On his many sleepless nights he sits in front of this empty chair and pictures Duggan sitting there and he keeps telling Duggan that he cannot and will not beat him, over and over again and for him it works temporarily. Why should they have to go through daily routines of this nature without reparation. This man is nearly 70 and has been doing this on thousands and thousands of miserable nights.

2. Another negative is the failure of the Salford Diocese and the Catholic Church to take its head out of the sand and benefit from St Benedict’s “ear of the heart”. While they continue to disavow, they continue to make a rod for their own back. Why is the Diocese at this moment cutting its parishes by 50%. Why because nobody gives a fuck for them anymore. They are a dying breed, who have not stood up to their responsibilities. They continue to pander to their aging and dying supporters, none of whom can see beyond the end of their noses. The smell of putrefaction meets you at the threshold of every church.

This brings me onto another point that has shown itself  in the last while. How does the legal profession manage to gather so many psychopaths into its fold? Where do legal firms manage to recruit human beings to defend the indefensible? Hill Dickinson, the Diocesan lawyers, seem to have no problem. Are these lawyers not married with children or perhaps they are of a type that others spurn both them and their spawn. Surely any right minded person told to defend a case of child abuse would walk away. These people who take on such a role must surely have psychopathic tendencies. But in some ways you have to admire them. As we came at them with all guns firing they adroitly side-stepped the charge and jumped through a door marked limitation and causation and allowed us to charge full pelt into a brick wall marked abuse behind which the Salford Diocesan clerics, wallowing in omerta, sat tittering.
One thing I learned over this period is that even if you are as guilty as hell there is always a doorway marked escape for you to walk through. The law is a fucking ass as I think Mr Bumble once said. And the Salford Diocese have consciously and blatantly rode it in the Grand National.
Why, why, why is there no compassion. Why, why, why is there no decency. Why, why, why is there no love of humanity, no charity, no honesty in the Catholic Church today, or was there ever. Have we all been duped, have we all been stitched up by snake oil salesmen.