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Clodagh's debt to NHS heroes

Editor's Viewpoint

Published 23/07/2015

We often hear of the failings of the health service, but those are the exception rather than the rule
We often hear of the failings of the health service, but those are the exception rather than the rule

That Clodagh Arbuckle survived a car crash that killed two young men is astounding. That she is now well enough to give an interview to this newspaper is nothing short of miraculous. The Ballycastle teenager was not expected to live after being taken from the wreckage of one the vehicles, and indeed her life hung in the balance for many long days.

Suffering from a range of injuries including one to the brain, she spent two weeks in a coma and 13 weeks in various hospitals. She and her family put her recovery down to the power of prayer and call it a miracle.

Certainly, a strong faith shared by many others can work wonders, but there were humans also working miracles for Clodagh.

They were the police officers, firemen, and paramedics who attended to her at the scene of the horror accident and the doctors and nurses and their support staff in the hospitals where she was given such exemplary treatment and care.

We often hear of the failings of the health service, but those are the exception rather than the rule. In the hugely complex world of medicine errors are inevitable, if regrettable. But every day medical and nursing staff in hospitals and in the community deliver first class care to thousands of patients.

In cases like Clodagh, where the prognosis is poor, those working in our hospitals strain every sinew and use every ounce of their expertise to give the patient a fighting chance of life. Without the expert care that Clodagh received she would not be alive today. We sometimes glibly talk about the miracle of modern medicine, but it is not something we should take for granted.

The health service operates under tremendous strain yet it seeks to maintain the highest standards. We should stand in awe at the work of health professionals rather than constantly berate the service because it sometimes falls short of the standards that we and the staff expect.

Clodagh and her family will be eternally grateful to all those who dragged her back from the brink of death and brought her to a situation where she is now hoping to rebuild her life and get back to school.

Her story is a remarkable tale of the indomitable nature of the human spirit, a testament to the health service and the goodwill of so many people who prayed for Clodagh's recovery. Thankfully, their prayers were answered.

Belfast Telegraph

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