A Newbridge man whose life savings are now gone after being spent on getting surgery in Germany for severe back pain is slamming the Irish healthcare system and appealing with the Government to assist him.
David Tims (27), Lakeside, Newbridge, first began to suffer extreme back pain in March 2018. He attended a GP and paid privately for an MRI scan.
He said: "The MRI showed that I had a bad disc, it was degenerative and tearing."
On December 2018, he paid to attend a neurosurgeon privately in Dublin, and while content with the treatment there, had plans in place by that stage for Germany. He paid in excess of €200 for both scans each in Ireland privately. By December, he had made contact with doctors in Spain and Germany, and therefore went ahead with treatment in Germany. Spending three weeks in Dusseldorf, he underwent surgery and got an artificial disc replacement.
He is frustrated with the delays in getting referred for treatment in Ireland and then the long waiting process.
He says that this treatment has reduced his pain greatly but because he has spent all of his life savings, he can't afford to get further care there and is now on a waiting list for pain management in Ireland, which he fears could take 12 months on a medical card.
Mr Tims said: "I have not been able to work, I am on illness benefit. I can't go too far due to my back pain, I need more tests as I don't want to be suffering unnecessarily. I am on medication for the pain but it makes me sick. My lifestyle is very limited."
Prior to getting the extreme back pain, Mr Tims was a PHd student at Trinity. He said that he was receiving a grant and had also attained a scholarship and by living frugally, had managed to save €25,000.
He has returned to living with his mother in Newbridge and says that while the pain has improved since the treatment in Germany, he is still in 'a tremendous amount of pain.'