Bernard Óg’s Temple Street Story

Bernard Óg was only a few minutes old when doctors realised how seriously ill this brave little boy was. He was immediately rushed from his native Galway to Dublin for life-saving surgery.

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Bernard Óg’s mum, Marieann, will never forget the day her tiny baby was taken from her and rushed to Intensive Care.

“You are just so scared. Especially when you see him going off and you are not allowed to go in the ambulance with him. And you are told to take a picture. You think ‘God, will we make it up to Dublin at all like to see him?” – Marieann, Bernard Óg’s mum.

But Bernard Óg’s incredible journey was only beginning. And what an extraordinary journey it has been.

A few days after he was born Bernard Óg’s mum Marieann and dad Bernard were told that their infant son was in renal failure. His kidneys were shutting down.

Temple Street Hospital is now the centre for renal dialysis for the entire country. So, for the next few years, Temple Street would become Bernard Óg’s home away from home.

At first, Bernard Óg was put on home dialysis – where, for 10 or 11 hours a night – seven nights a week, his devoted parents supervised his treatment.

Bernard Óg and his family live outside Roundstone in Connemara, on the far western tip of Ireland. They had to travel nearly 300 kilometres to Temple Street, so that the expert renal team could monitor his devolvement. As Bernard Óg grew older, he began to need regular blood dialysis in Temple Street.

“We would get up around 2am to start him on his fluids. Then we’d get up again around 3.30 or 4am and would hit the road to arrive in Temple Street for 8 o’clock. Bernard Óg would be on the machine for about three hours and then we’d be back on the road again to go home.” – Marieann, Bernard Óg’s mum.

Bernard Óg and his family continued that gruelling routine three or four times a week for nearly four years.

During this long ordeal, Bernard Óg came to rely on the dedication and expertise of the medical teams who lovingly cared for him and his exhausted parents.

“The care is second to none in Temple Street. They are just amazing. Each and everyone of them. They are like our home away from home.” – Bernard, Bernard Óg’s dad.

Bernard Óg’s parents knew that he would eventually need a kidney transplant to survive and were waiting patiently for a donor to become available.

At one point, Marieann thought that she might be able to provide her son with the transplant needed to save his life.

“I got all the workup done and they told me I was all ready to give him the kidney. But then I got a phone call – I’ll never forget it – and they said ‘we can’t take your kidney’. I was devastated.” – Marieann, Bernard Óg’s mum.

So, Bernard Óg remained on the transplant list – always hoping, always praying that a life-saving kidney may become available.

Then came the day. Late one Friday night, they got the call they had been waiting for. Thanks to the kindness of another organ donor, Bernard Óg’s was told that there was a kidney waiting for him.

“I was an emotional wreck, up and down the hallway crying and you’d be thinking of the other family, what they are going through. Every emotion runs through your head.” – Marieann, Bernard Óg’s mum.

After all those years, and all those miles, Bernard Óg’s transplant was a success. Today he and his family can look forward to the future with hope and confidence.

They will never forget the people they met or the care they received in Temple Street. And they will always remember the incredible generosity of Temple Street’s wonderful family of donors who helped to fund so much essential equipment – like the dialysis machine that kept Bernard Óg alive for so long.

Young Bernard Óg will clearly never forget either. When you ask this brave little boy what he wants to be when he grows up, the answer is clear – “A doctor.”

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