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Cancer in a Cold Climate

I wrote this book to help the Campaign to save St Luke’s Hospital, an existing ‘centre of excellence’ which had served the Irish people well for many years. It was launched by Senator David Norris.

In May 2010, two years after my involvement with St Luke’s began, my husband was diagnosed with cancer and became a patient of St Luke’s.

About the book:

‘We are working towards developing one of the most advanced networks of radiation oncology in the world.’  National Cancer Control Programme press office.

But in a revealing chapter entitled Big business: behind the plan to close St Luke’s, health analyst and contributor, Marie O’Connor, says: ‘Cancer sufferers will soon be treated like commodities, sold off, in effect, to the lowest bidder’.

This is the backdrop to Cancer in a Cold Climate, a book about the struggle to save St Luke’s Hospital, a beacon of medical care and spiritual sustenance for cancer sufferers and their families for over half a century in Ireland. Only the brand is to survive, on current plans.

The book lays bare the highs and lows of the campaign, the disappointments, deceptions, advances and achievements. Patients and their families explain, in their own words, why this proven centre of excellence should not be closed.

It exposes how St Luke’s was shafted; the unaccountably low marks given by the ‘experts’ to the leafy 18-acre site in Rathgar, a key expert report that never made the Minister’s desk, and the new ‘business plan’ commissioned for the hospital ‘estate’.

Welcome to an Alice-in-Wonderland world of meetings without minutes, ‘no show’ politicians, and telephone calls from Viet Nam.   A world where ‘best practice’ means no beds and no food, and cancer patients are placed at risk of infection in overcrowded wards.  A world of double standards: one for public hospitals, another for private clinics.

The book’s message is crystal-clear: patients must be protected. The decision to close St Luke’s must be reversed. With your help, St Luke’s can still be saved.

Since the book was published a general election resulted in a change of government. There is now no threat to St Luke’s in the medium term though like all other hospitals it is suffering from cutbacks and the public sector recruitment freeze.  Every year St Luke’s patients and supporters have a reunion, held to date in Donegal and organized by Joe Guilfoyle, Chairman of the campaign to save the hospital.

See www.savestlukes.ie

© Copyright 2013, Enid O'Dowd.