Stephen McCoy: forced out of his routine. GA210301F
THE family of a local man who survived the Kegworth Air Disaster have accused the Northern Trust of failing to provide him with the medical support which he had been guaranteed.
Stephen McCoy was just 16 when the unthinkable happened on January 8, 1989. He was on board British Midland Flight 92 when it smashed into an embankment off the M1 in the English Midlands killing 47 of the passengers.
The up-and-coming young boxer from Toome was critically injured and his family were warned to 'prepare for a funeral' when doctors assessed the extent of his devastating injuries.
Stephen remained in a deep coma for more than two months but the fighting spirit which was heralded as 'inspirational' by former world champ Chris Eubank kicked in and he began on the long and painful road to recovery.
In 1995 he was awarded £1.45 million in compensation, but he still has to depend on the support of his family - particularly his sister and full time carer Yvonne.
Yvonne, who is vice-chair of lobby group Save The Mid says she has witnessed first hand the devastating effects the restructuring of the hospitals has had on those who depend on treatment.
Yvonne told the Antrim Guardian that in a series of meetings between the McCoy family and the Northern Trust, it was promised to the family that there would always be a bed available for Stephen in Mid Ulster Hospital.
However, with inpatients being removed from the MId Ulster, Yvonne claims the extreme stress being placed on services at Antrim Area is too much for the hospital to cope with.
On more than one occasion, Stephen has had to be taken to Belfast for treatment as no beds were available at the Antrim site.
Yvonne said: "As the Northern Trust continue to remove all inpatients, treatment at the Mid-Ulster or indeed Antrim Area will no longer be a option for our family.
“Stephen requires close medical attention and since the removal of Mid Ulster A&E has found himself having to avail of hospitals in Belfast as there were no beds available at Antrim.
“This is the human side to the removal of services. Stephen is one of many who could of been directly admitted to Mid Ulster Hospital, a setting in where he is familiar with the staff and where the staff are familiar with his needs."
The McCoy family have faced several stressful occasions now where treatment needed for Stephen has been unavailable and cases where staff have had to trawl through medical records to define what treatment he needs.
Yvonne told the Guardian that the stress on the family as a result of all the upset is 'beyond words'.
“We have Stephen into a routine where he gets fed at certain times and sleeps at certain times," she continued. "It's not fair on him to be forced out of that routine.
“Stephen can't sit for hours at Antrim if he needs treatment, it's too difficult for him to do that and if he has a headache, because of his brain injury, we can't afford to sit about until someone can see him.
“Antrim can't cope, the Mid-Ulster area has been left without a proper hospital and it's having a knock on effect right across the whole Trust area."
The Guardian contacted the Northern Trust about the difficulties facing the McCoy family.
A spokesperson for the Trust said: "We cannot comment on a patient or their treatment through the media.
“We would encourage the patient or anyone who has a complaint to contact us through the Trust complaints procedure so we can formally investigate and respond to them."