Northern Ireland news

Active 90-year-old who loved outdoors left housebound in four-year wait for hip replacement

90-year-old Danny Murphy, who is on a lengthy hospital waiting list for a hip replacement, pictured in his Cushendun home. Picture by Hugh Russell
Seanín Graham

DRIVING the parish priest to Mass and opening up the chapel in Cushendun were just two of the many 'odd jobs' in 90-year-old Danny Murphy's daily routine.

But the former mechanic, whose favourite pastime was walking on his local beach, has lost his independence and mobility after a fall caused by a seriousness weakness in his hip.

The once sprightly grandfather - who was always outdoors 'footering about' - is one of thousands of patients in Northern Ireland on a lengthy hospital waiting list for a hip replacement.

Having moved into a 'granda flat' beside his daughter's house after being widowed 15 years ago, Mr Murphy had to move in with her last summer when he became reliant on walking aids and a wheelchair.

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"I loved being out in the garden and walking on Cushendun beach. I was very active about the town and took the priest to Mass because he couldn't drive - but now I can't even stoop to pull up my trousers," he told The Irish News.

"The pain has got worse and I am sort of housebound. I was forced to move in with my daughter last summer after my hip caused me to fall and break my wrist.

"It's frustrating because you want to go outside and you try to walk a little to stop the limbs seizing. You have to keep your mind strong and try not to take too many painkillers."

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Having first learned four years ago that he required the operation, the Co Antrim pensioner waited two years before he got a first assessment with a specialist consultant.

Due to an underlying heart murmur, he was informed that his surgery could only be carried out in the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast - as opposed to Musgrave Park where the majority of orthopaedic procedures take place.

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Despite repeated letters by his GP Dr John McSparran to "expedite things" and phone calls by his family, Mr Murphy has yet to hear anything back.

"If I had my operation two years ago then I would be all right as I wouldn't have had the fall. I would have been fit to walk. Now I just have to accept things and keep waiting to hear from the hospital," he said.

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