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My 4-year wait for a scan could leave me.. PARALYSED; ULSTER WOMAN'S FURY AT NHS DELAY.

Byline: KEVIN McDONNELL

A FORMER care worker fears she may end up paralysed after being told she will have to wait until 2009 for a back scan.

Devastated Dawn Morrallee is slowly losing the power of her legs and can no longer live a normal life.

The 44-year-old East Belfast woman slipped a disc in her back in 2002 while working in a care home.

She went to the Ulster Hospital in Dundonald for treatment and was told she needed an MRI scan so doctors could identify the damaged area.

However, Mrs Morrallee was horrified when she was told it could be four years before she can get the vital scan.

She said: "My life is in ruins and I am very worried I will be confined to a wheelchair for life before I get an appointment.

"The pain is like a hot knife being stabbed into my back and legs. It's a living hell.

"I was completely stunned to be told it could be 2009 before I can get this life- changing scan.

"Being virtually confined to the house is heartbreaking."

A tearful Mrs Morrallee said she takes eight different painkillers every day, yet she can only sleep for five hours a night.

She added: "I want to lead a normal life but I can't.

"The day to day hell is driving me up the wall.

"My husband is also suffering.

"We can't even go on a holiday together.

"I was supposed to meet my father-in-law at Christmas for the first time.

"But I could not travel to Scotland because of the pain. I do not know where to turn.

"This is supposed to be a civilised country but I am being treated like dirt."

Last night, Ulster Unionist Assembly member Sir Reg Empey said he was "totally outraged" at how his constituent's case has been handled.

Claiming Mrs Morrallee's human rights had been breached, Mr Empey said: "This poor woman is losing the power of her legs.

"She is being treated inhumanely and the length of time she is having to wait is appalling. I will be writing to Health Minister Angela Smith for an explanation.

"If this was happening in Britain, it would be a major scandal. But local politicians are not blameless. We have let Mrs Morrallee and the like of her down by not getting things done at the Assembly ourselves."

And last night she reacted furiously when a spokesman for the Ulster Community and Hospital Trust said it has "no record of Mrs Morrallee on their waiting lists".

Mrs Morrallee said: "This is utter nonsense. My GP rang them in my presence to tell them they needed to hurry up."

CAPTION(S):

SUFFERING: Dawn Morrallee lives in constant pain; ANGER: Dawn is furious at Ulster Hospital bosses
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Apr 15, 2005
Words:463
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