WATCH: Irish Parkinson's patient demonstrates the dramatic effects of deep brain stimulation
On Monday night's episode of Claire Byrne Live, a man demonstrated the importance of proper treatment for Parkinson's patients.
"Brian Donnellan shows the effect of turning off his deep brain stimulation unit, which controls his Parkinson's symptoms. The units are made in Clonmel but are not available in Ireland," a message on the Claire Byrne Live Twitter page read.
During a segment on last night's show, Donnellan demonstrated that with the help of his unit, which he carries in his breast pocket, he is able to nullify some of the most severe effects of his Parkinson's. With the unit on, he showed he could speak clearly, and use hand-eye co-ordination to follow the finger of the man beside him as it moved back and forth.
When he switched the unit off, his breathing became laboured, his hands began to shake, and he could no longer follow the finger. After demonstrating how much worse his quality of life is without the unit, he switched it back on.
"I'm back," he said, much to the relief of Byrne and everyone in the audience. You can watch the clip below.
Parkinson's patient shows the impact of deep brain stimulation
Brian Donnellan shows the effect of turning off his deep brain stimulation unit, which controls his Parkinson's symptoms. The units are made in Clonmel but are not available in Ireland #cblive pic.twitter.com/pbIwFXSngY
— Claire Byrne Live (@ClaireByrneLive) April 15, 2019
The Claire Byrne Live segment followed a protest outside Leinster last week on World Parkinson's Day, where sufferers and supporters protested for their right to access specialist care and support.
“Research shows that there should be one Parkinson’s nurse specialist for every 300 patients yet in Ireland in 2019 there are only five specialist nurses for the 12,000 patients and three of these nurses are based in Dublin. Parkinson’s patients are expected to travel abroad for Deep Brain Stimulation surgery – a life changing procedure which should be available here," said Fianna Fáil spokesperson for health Stephen Donnelly.
“Despite the fact there is no cure; patients are not automatically entitled to a long term illness scheme. The Association itself is not in receipt of any core funding, limiting their ability to provide services to patients and families right across the country.
"I want to know if the Minister will address the discrepancy between patients who have long term illness support versus those who have a medical card. I want to know why the number of specialist nurse practitioners dedicated to supporting people with Parkinson’s is so low and I want to know if the Minister will finally recognise the work of the Parkinson’s Association and if he will increase their core funding.
"Parkinson’s is a life changing progressive and debilitating illness, as it was put to me outside last week’s demonstration, it is a life sentence not a death sentence. Patients deserve access to specialised care and treatment options in their own country. Forcing them to travel abroad and far from their homes to access care only compounds their suffering", concluded Donnelly.