Mother of Co Armagh asthma attack victim joins campaign as Asmtha UK says almost 100,000 people in NI not receiving basic asthma care
THE mother of a Co Armagh man who died from an asthma attack has told of how she doesn't "want any other parent to go through what we have" as figures reveal almost 100,000 people in Northern Ireland are still not receiving basic asthma care.
Donna Green from Lurgan has described how losing her son Tiernan (20) has inspired her to join the campaign for better basic care for asthma sufferers.
It comes as a report by Asthma UK reveals while Northern Ireland may be "leading the way in asthma care" compared with other parts of the UK, thousands of people are not receiving basic care, putting them at risk of a life-threatening asthma attack.
The charity said the problem is "far from fixed" as figures show an estimated 95,0000 people in the north are not receiving basic care.
Mrs Green said she only found out how serious asthma was "when my boy died in my arms" last year.
"Tiernan came to my bedroom door, having an asthma attack, gasping for breath," she said.
"He was pale, his lips had turned blue and he was taking his inhaler but it wasn't helping.
"I called an ambulance and was on the phone when he turned to me and said: ‘Mum I'm going to die tonight'. It was the most frightening moment of my life.
"Losing Tiernan has left a big hole in our lives."
She said better basic care is needed.
"Mums often tell me that doctors are brushing aside their worries about their children's asthma and they aren't being given what they need," she said.
"Doctors and nurses need to give asthma patients the care they need.
"Asthma sufferers also need to help themselves too and make sure they take their asthma seriously, see their asthma nurse and have a proper written asthma action plan."
Asthma UK said guidelines for asthma care include an annual asthma review, assessment to ensure correct medication, being taught the correct inhaler technique and having a written plan on how to manage asthma.
Dr Samantha Walker from Asthma UK said: "While it is good news that Northern Ireland is leading the way in offering asthma patients basic care, it is still far from fixed.
"It is unacceptable that 100,000 people with asthma are not getting vital help that could save their life.
"It shouldn't matter where you live - people with asthma should get a written plan to help them manage their asthma, a yearly review to check their medicine is working and help to ensure they are taking it properly.
"Healthcare professionals need to ensure they are giving patients this care and patients should pro-actively manage their asthma, and attend their appointments to keep asthma attacks at bay."