Galway Advertiser 2005/2005_06_30/GA_3006_E1_014.pdf
14 N E W S
June 30 2005
...OR NOT FRENCH WINE EN PRIMEUR
by Willie Shaw
Local MRSA group wants to give sufferers and families a voice
BY MARY O'CONNOR The local branch of a national patient rights' group is planning to hold an information meeting on the MRSA hospital superbug in Galway shortly to heighten awareness about the condition which claims 500 lives nationally each year. It also wants to give sufferers and their families a voice. Mary Tierney, a local spokesperson for Patient Focus, says is important that people who think they may be infected find out the truth. "The condition is very very prevalent. But up to a while back some hospitals were not admitting that it was widespread. Up to relatively recently it was hush, hush, there was a wall of silence surrounding it. "People who asked questions were fobbed off in some cases. Information was not forthcoming. My advice is to shout loud enough and knock hard enough. That way you may be told." Ms Tierney says she was hospitalised with a serious infection in the past. "There's a specific antibiotic that is the last line defence against MRSA and I was on it. It is highly toxic, rarely used and is very expensive. When I queried why I was on it, the hospital wouldn't tell me. I was asked was I a nurse because if I were I would understand these things. I don't know if I had MRSA but I do know that this is the response that patients are getting sometimes when they ask questions. No explanation is given, no information is forthcoming, they are just told they would not understand." She says she attended a special meeting on MRSA organised by Patient Focus in Dublin earlier this week and was shocked at the incidence of the disease in hospitals. "There was someone at the meeting who had lost an eye because of the condition, others were on crutches or in wheelchairs. I've had scarey stories from people in Galway too. Some have seen loved ones die from MRSA, others are still living with it." She praises Galway Regional Hospitals for becoming increasingly patient focused. "Last November when Prime Time did a programme on MRSA, Merlin Park and UCHG were the only hospitals which gave figures about the condition. I credit them with correlating these figures and giving them. It is our belief that they are becoming more open and patient focused. We [Patient Focus] have ongoing meetings with them. We have developed a partnership and bring to their attention our concerns. They let us know what they are doing about it." She is calling for greater infection control measures in hospitals, especially hand hygiene, the opening of more isolation units to contain MRSA, and for health care professionals to break the news of infection to patients and families in an appropriate manner in suitable surroundings. "We have requested that more concern be applied to hygiene in hospitals, especially hand washing. We want to see the three Ws applied - wash, work, wash. We are also concerned about hospital personnel's dress code, people are wearing `scrubs' outside theatre, doctors are wearing ties which are dropping off patients' bedclothes, some staff are using the toilet without washing their hands afterwards." Ms Tierney, who was recently hospitalised while in England, was impressed by the hygiene standards there. "We should learn from them. The staff wear badges with an icon of a hand and a droplet of water on it. You could ask any of them to wash their hands.There are posters reminding workers of infection control measures. There is an antiseptic hand gel dispenser in each ward and on each locker. Some 99 per cent of infections carried on the hands can be controlled in 30 seconds by the use of a proper gel." Patient Focus is keen to raise awareness and help MRSA sufferers. "We are not scare mongering. We want to help give people ownership of their health. The condition does not appear on death certs so some people don't know that a loved one died from it. "We are requesting that patients and families are told in a proper manner that they have the condition. They should not be told in corridors or hear something like `She has an infection, don't go into that room'." Meanwhile a Galway based solicitor who represents MRSA victims is recruiting a doctor to help prepare cases against the Health Service Executive. Brian Lynch and Associates, which is based at Courthouse Square and represents the Families & MRSA support group, advertised in this newspaper and other publications recently. It was reported in the national media that some claims will seek damages of more than 3 million. MRSA, known as methicillinresistant staphylococcus aureus, is shorthand for any strain of common bacteria which is resistant to one or more conventional antibiotics. There are many different strains which can cause a broad range of symptoms depending on the part of the body which is infected. These can include surgical wounds, burns, catether sites, eye, skin and blood. The infection is often found in the nose of healthy people. It spreads easily in hospitals because it can be carried on the hands and clothes of health care workers, on hospital equipment and surfaces.
here has been a lot of bad publicity about French wine lately, with the Ministry of Agriculture offices being attacked by vineyard owners and the de-classification of countless hectolitres of wine to be converted into Industrial Alcohol. While there are indeed lots of problems, there are also lots of great wines in France and without doubt the world's greatest wines still do come from France. There is a very unusual way of buying French wine; mainly in Bordeaux, called `En Primeur' and several people have asked me to explain the system and also whether it is a good investment. Each year the chateaus release their wines for sale while still in the barrel. This sale is to an invited audience of Bordeaux based wine brokers who sample all the wines on offer. At this stage the wines are undrinkable as they are in the very early stages of maturation; the brokers have to be very skilled at determining how the various wines will evolve over the next 10, 20 or more years. The brokers then release their prices to the large En Primeur wine wholesalers and they in turn set prices for the public and anyone can make a purchase. The minimum purchase will always be per case of 12 bottles. One of the most respected companies is Berry Brothers and they have offices in Dublin. At this point it is worth stating that there have been scandals in the past where large En Primeur dealers have gone out of business leaving all their paid up customers with useless title deeds of wines that never existed, so be careful where you make your purchase. How does it work? Once you select your wines you pay the wine merchant for each case, remembering that it is still in a barrel and will be for at least 2 more years. When the wine is eventually bottled and shipped to Ireland you will be notified and asked if you wish to take possession of it, if you do, you will have to pay the shipping charges + duty + vat. The vat is based on the original cost of the wine + the shipping + the duty. The alternative to this is to request your wine merchant to hold the wine in their bonded warehouse until you need it, this could be several years depending on how long it will take to mature. In this case, (excuse the pun) you will be asked to pay shipping costs only, plus an annual fee per case while it is stored. (It can be unsettling to have paid for your wine and now be paying a fee to have it stored in a bonded warehouse in hopefully perfect conditions, and yet having nothing to show for it other than a piece of paper stating ownership). When you eventually do wish to remove the wine, you will incur the duty and Vat charges. Next week I will cover the question of whether or not it is a good investment.
Open day for new Claregalway Educate Together school
BY UNA SINNOTT Galway North Educate Together has reported a brisk uptake of places in its new school, due to open in Claregalway in September, following an open day last weekend. The school premises in Cloonbiggeen were opened to parents and children on Sunday. GNET received sanction from the Department of Education and Science in April, and the new facility will open its doors to new pupils on September 5. Interest from parents has been strong with a large number of enrolments in recent months. "The GNET committee is to be complimented for the enormous amount of voluntary work that has been done to establish the school and give parents and children the choice in education that they are entitled to under article 42 of the Irish constitution," said Cllr Fidelma Healy Eames, who attended Sunday's event. "Educate Together guarantees children and parents of all faiths and none equal respect in the operation and governing of education. It aims to meet a growing need in Irish society for schools that recognise the developing diversity of Irish life and the modern need for democratic management structures. "In particular, The Galway North Educate Together Association was set up by local parents who wish to send their children to a primary school that is multi-denominational, child-centred, coeducational and democratically run," she added. "The committee has worked since January 2004 to open the school."
WINE OF THE WEEK
CHATEAU TEYSSIER ST EMILION GRAND CRU 2001 28.95 DESCRIBED BY MARY DOWEY AS "SUPER SUAVE" Remember that the Wine of the Week is also available this weekend in the Malt House Restaurant (091 567866), ask Fergus the Award Winning Sommelier for a recommended dish from their menu to match this wine.
UNCORKED is brought to you weekly in association with HARVEST OFF-LICENCES
HARVEST OFF LICENCE Raven Terrace & Eyre Square, Galway & Main St., Oranmore OPEN 7 NIGHTS `TIL 11PM
Voted the `Best Ethnic Restaurant in Connacht' at the Bushmills Malt Irish Restaurant awards the staff of Tulsi Restaurant, Buttermilk Walk, (from left) Khokon, Shapon, chefs Kapim, Mainuddin, Kabir, Mizan, and Habib proudly show off their award.