Early one Sunday morning, Jack Byrne found his wife, Esther, collapsed and unconscious. The family had returned from a trip to London the evening before. With no obvious signs of illness, Esther had gone to bed and has no recollection of how she ended up lying stretched out on the bathroom floor.
Jack called an ambulance and Esther was rushed to Beaumont Hospital’s Emergency Department. Staff who worked on her there strongly believed she would not make it and her family was advised to prepare for the worst and to notify Esther's sons who were living abroad.
At death’s door, with a dual diagnosis of pneumonia and meningitis, Esther was admitted to ICU where she remained unconscious for a week. A formerly very fit, 73 year old, Esther had only weeks before taken part in the women's mini-marathon, walking the course in 2hr 20 mins. It is her general level of fitness that has been attributed to her complete recovery from what could well have been a fatal illness.
Esther’s first recollection is of waking and seeing her family in tears as they clustered around her hospital bed. As she recalls, “It was worse for them than it was for me”.
She spent the first few weeks coming in and out of consciousness and remembers her husband telling her that when she came home she might need aids such as a wheelchair or a chairlift. Not for Esther! She was determined that she would have a complete return to fitness and on transfer to St Joseph’s Hospital in Raheny (part of the Beaumont campus), she set about working with the Physio to regain her balance, to learn how to walk and climb a set of stairs again.
She says, “to not be able to put my feet in front of me was unbelievable and I was determined that I would regain my independence”.
Esther was under the care of Dr Ciaran Donegan, Consultant Geriatrician and his team throughout her time in Beaumont. When she met him, she remembers telling him that she owed him her life. Dr Donegan now refers to Esther as his “miracle” patient.
Speaking about her consultant, she says, “Dr Donegan was so down to earth and took such care in taking each member of my family aside as they arrived, shocked and emotional, from overseas. He explained the seriousness of my condition and allowed time for their questions. I have only praise and admiration for all the staff who cared for me, and my family, during my treatment and rehabilitation in Beaumont Hospital”.
Two years later, death’s door is a distant memory for Esther who is back to full fitness and makes two to three weekly visits to the gym.
Esther's Fundraising Support for Beaumont Hospital Foundation
Esther took part in her 16th Ladies Mini-Marathon in aid of Beaumont Hospital Foundation