Derry man born with four kidneys
A local Derry man has been speaking for the first time about how he baffled medics when they discovered he had four kidneys.
In fact, it was only when Patsy Doherty had a brush with death 30 years ago after falling from scaffolding that he, in turn, ended up saving his own life when doctors made the unusual discovery.
Despite having double the amount of kidneys as everyone else, the Clonmany man looked like a perfectly healthy teenage boy who was rarely sick.
Little did he know he was suffering from major organ failure and wouldn't have lived to see his twenties had he not been rushed to hospital on the day he took a tumble on a building site.
At the time, doctors told the now 58-year-old that he had, in fact, uniquely got four kidneys -- instead of the normal two -- three of which had failed while the fourth was only half working. Medics speculated he could have been a twin (in his mother's womb) and that's, perhaps, where the extra two kidneys came from.
On top of that, they discovered he had a massive cyst on his bladder which was putting pressure on the only kidney that was part working. They had to operate on him to remove the cyst and his extra kidneys.
"I never had any health problems all my life. It was only when I fell off the scaffolding that I went to hospital and they discovered the problems with my kidneys by sheer accident,” Doherty, a farmer, said.
"I had to have a series of operations at the time. They had to remove the cyst from my bladder and then, step by step, they had to remove the three kidneys that had completely failed. The last operation was to remove part of the fourth kidney. I was left then with half a kidney when I was 19.”
With regular hospital check-ups, his remaining half kidney worked perfectly well for 31 years.
It was only when Doherty reached his 50th year that the kidney packed up altogether and he was forced to go on dialysis and, like hundreds of other people across the country, join the kidney transplant waiting list.
He added, "I didn't know that I would have to have a kidney transplant. I didn't know the kidney would have wore out. It frightened me. When I left the hospital, I was in pure denial.
"I was scared and upset and, in one way, I just thought the problem would go away. Being on dialysis was really tough."
He spent two years on dialysis before he got the call to say a kidney had been donated. He says he often thinks about his donor and how grateful he is to have been given a second chance at life.
He's a strong advocate of organ donation and stresses the importance for those who have signed up to relay their feelings to their families.
He's also helping his son, John Francis, to rake in cash for a one-of-a-kind sponsored swim -- from Glashedy Island to Tullagh beach -- in aid of the Irish Kidney Association.
"I'm delighted he's doing the swim, I think he's crazy for doing it because it's never been done before, but hopefully it will help raise awareness and money for the Irish Kidney Association,” Doherty said.
- Derry Journal
Eye Lost in Fight
A brave 20 year-old Trim woman who lost the sight of one eye when she was assaulted after a party has spoken out about the devastating consequences of the incident on her life.
What should have been a fun night out at an 18th birthday party ended in disaster when Donna Pearson from Manorlands lost the sight in one of her eyes in a terrifying and brutal assault.
She was in court when the young woman who assaulted her was jailed for three years.
Pearson now wants young people to be aware of what can happen when they go out, get drunk and start fighting.
"The incident has had terrible consequences for me and delayed my life, but it has ruined hers. I can get on with my life now, but she will always have a criminal conviction and she will have served time in prison," she said.
At the Circuit Court in Trim, 21-year-old Nicole Regan was jailed for three years for assaulting Pearson and causing her harm on December 14, 2007. Judge Michael O'Shea described the incident as "sinister" and the assault as "brutal."
The incident, which has had a devastating effect on both girls' lives, took place after they had both been at an 18th birthday party in the Warrenstown Arms public house.
Pearson and her assailant were on a bus which was bringing a group of people back from the party to Trim, and there was a petty argument on the bus. When they arrived in Trim, Pearson was walking home when she was surrounded by a group of girls.
She was thumped in the stomach, face and temple and was pinned against a wall. She distinctly remembers her assailant punching her twice in the eye.
The assault by the group of girls only came to an end when Pearson’s uncle realized what was happening and rushed back to her aid.
She was taken to hospital in Navan and transferred the next morning to the Mater Hospital in Dublin, where doctors desperately fought to save her sight.
When her uncle had broken up the assault, she went into the nearby Castle Arch Hotel to clean herself up and was horrified to see in the bathroom mirror that "everything was hanging out of one eye."
Pearson endured two painful operations on her eye and countless visits to hospitals, which meant she had to abandon a childcare course she had just started and couldn't go ahead with plans to do her driver theory test.
Her confidence plummeted and she began to suffer from depression, particularly as she felt intimidated whenever she went out in Trim.
Her life was also put on hold as she dealt with her horrific injuries. Her eyeball had burst open in the attack, and the first operation involved repairing the iris. She had 16 stitches in her eye.
She started to suffer from panic attacks when she went out and because of her lack of sight on one side, she often tripped and bumped into people.
She said while she felt intimidated by a certain group of people at home, there was a lot of support for her from most of the people of Trim who realized how dreadful the consequences of the assault were.
While Regan's barrister apologized on her behalf, Pearson and her family said they were disappointed that she didn't get up herself and apologize.
Pearson’s mother Fiona said, "We made sure we behaved with dignity in court and left to give Nicole's family time with her to say goodbye."
- Meath Chronicle
The Passport Office received around 4,000 applications each day last week, and the backlog has not dramatically reduced since the hiring of extra staff.
The 50 new temporary clerical officers were recruited to help deal with peak summer demand and to tackle the backlog of more than 61,000 applications which developed in recent months.
But around 20,000 people applied for a passport -- kicking off the summer rush and putting to bed any immediate hopes of lifting the backlog. The extra staff is currently being trained.
A spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs said, "The backlog is at 62,946, which is a reduction on the backlog of last Friday. However, application demand remains high.
"It is not possible to say when the backlog will be significantly reduced as it depends on the rate of applications. However, it will take some time."
The spokesperson said passport applications were coming in at a "fast rate," and if the trend continued there would be little hope of reducing the backlog.
"If it keeps coming in at 6,000 every day it'll be very hard to reduce," the spokesperson added.
"It's the public applying, so we'll have to wait and see what the public does. Hopefully we will see some inroads in it."
There are 248 staff working at the offices in Molesworth Street and Balbriggan in Dublin, and a further 72 staff working in Cork.
In late May, there were 62,008 passport applications in the system, which Foreign Affairs Minister Micheal Martin said were a direct result of industrial action by the union.
Mayor Kevin Kiely claims the people of Limerick are right behind his call for hanging murderers -- and says that members of the victims' families and media should be able to witnesses the executions.
"I think it is high time that the government had a referendum on the issue, and I am confident it would be passed. There is not enough deterrent there for people who commit murder," the outspoken politician said, adding that he had received widespread support from the public following his comments.
Kiely said there were 53 murders and two manslaughters in Ireland last year, which was yet another rise in violent crime. "There is no deterrent. People who are given life for murder often end up out again after eight or 10 years," he says.
There was huge public reaction to Kiely's call for capital punishment to be brought back, with many in favor and others condemning the mayor.
"I would be proposing that these people, if they are found guilty and it goes through the whole judicial system, that we bring back hanging for them. I have no hesitation in saying that,” Kiely said.
"We need a deterrent, and the only deterrent is that if somebody takes a life and if it is proven beyond reasonable doubt that it was premeditated, then their life should be on the line too."
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