I listened with profound sadness to news on the radio this morning that Susie Long (41) from Callan, Co. Kilkenny had died over the weekend. Susie was a brave, intelligent, articulate woman who was not afraid to speak out about the inequities in our health service today. She believed in social justice and was totally against the need for private health insurance and a 2-tier healthcare system. She was diagnosed with terminal bowel cancer in March 2006 having waited 7 months (following referral by her GP) for screening in the public health service. By the time she received her initial diagnosis it was already too late – her cancer was classified as terminal. Susie wrote an email to ‘Liveline’ in January this year to express her anger at the delays in the service. She used the pseudonym of ‘Rosie’ to protect her family from unwanted attention. Her subsequent interview with Joe Duffy on his radio programme ‘Liveline’ was incredibly moving and touched many people’s hearts. It was hugely successful in highlighting the failures in our health service and certainly did not go unnoticed by our Minister for Health. Susie spoke with great dignity and achieved more in that interview than most patient lobby groups could ever hope to achieve.
The important point here is that Susie was badly let-down by our healthcare system. Our government should hang their heads in shame for allowing the health service to deteriorate to the point where it fails patients. Susie advocated on behalf of all patients to bring about change in the system which had failed her. Her husband and children must be very proud of her – we all should be. One thing is certain, Susie will never be forgotten.
Susie was concerned that she may not have done enough to make a difference. She MADE A HUGE DIFFERENCE! Rest in peace, Susie.