LOL: May 8, 2024

Welcome to this week’s issue of The Week in Medicine – a round-up of all the happenings in the world of Irish medicine

It’s hard to know where to put ‘WellFest’ in the medical compendium. For those of you who aren’t aware of it, WellFest is taking place next weekend in the Royal Hospital Kilmainham and it seems to consist of a lot of young women wearing yoga pants.,

I’m just kidding, a bit. There’s also a lot of ‘celebs’ and ‘presenters’ and I’ll bet quite a few of these people will describe themselves as ‘influencers’. They are also ‘motivators’ and a range of gurus on food, exercise, health and mindfullness that would be expansive even for George Harrison’s tastes.

I read one quote on their website that said: “I love festivals. I love music, and I love the gym. So everything combined together, it’s a dream come true.”

However, the ‘music’ will be Vogue Williams playing records – which is something you could do for free at home. There’s also a range of fitness instructors with various takes on how to exercise, including one which promises a ‘techno’ yoga class, which sounds to me a bit like a contradiction in terms.

There will also be a demonstration from The Happy Pear pair – Dave and Steve – who will ‘guide audiences through the creation of three probiotic dishes for maintaining a healthy gut on the WellFood stage. And, in fairness, I would pay money not to see or hear that.

And in the midst of these health professionals, there is a doctor, Dr Monica Peres Oikeh – who is a Nigerian-Irish GP practising in Cork who is well-known through her social media channels. She was named by the Irish Examiner as one of the top 100 women in Ireland in 2022 and 2023. She’s an expert in women’s health, the brochure tells me.

They estimate they will sell 12,000 tickets ranging from around €60 to €132 for the two days of Saturday and Sunday. And people say Irish people aren’t prepared to pay for health!


Here at LOL we’re feeling the pain of the Bon Secours Irish Medical Masters squad which entered two teams of doctors to this year’s European Championships held in Barcelona last month. The teams were coached by ex-league of Ireland star Paul Lally. Fourteen teams from across Europe entered this year including a team from Columbia made up of Columbian doctors who currently practice in Europe. Both Irish teams acquitted themselves really well with some excellent results.

Wins against Sweden, Great Britain (Yay!), Catalunya and draws with Columbia and Lithuania were among the highlights. One Irish team made it all the way to the final where they came up against reigning European Champions, Spain. Ireland took a first-half lead through an excellent free kick which was rifled into the top corner by Galway GP, Eamon O’Shea. Unfortunately, Spain equalised somewhat fortuitously from a corner in the second half and then scored the winner with three minutes to go. Despite the loss, the Irish doctors were buoyant and proud of their highest finish to date in the tournament.

Bon Secours Irish Medical Football Squad, European Medical Masters Championships 2024: Squad: Backrow: Alan Mortell, Viv Crowley, Cathal Collins, Fergus Cafferty, Liam Doherty (Bons Cork), Stephen Griffin, Mark Rogan, Tom Walshe, Ronan Murray, Brian Casserly, Alan Martin, Frank O’Brien (Bons Cork) Front Row: Raj Aderwale, Gav Keane, Tom Finnegan, Brian Egan((Bons Galway), Alan Mulgrew (Bons Tralee),), David Morrisey (Bons Cork), David Gallagher, Brian Carey, John Brown, Sean Kennelly, Eddie Dervan (Bons Dublin), Eamon O’Shea. Pic Mark Rogan

The team are extremely grateful to Bon Secours Hopsitals Group for their ongoing sponsorship and support. Indeed every Bon Secours Hospital in Ireland was represented in the squad. Next up for this group is the World Medical Football Championships in Australia in July. The following year, this prestigious tournament will be held in Dublin, when over one thousand international doctors and their families will descend on the capital for a week of medical congress, football and friendship.

Which reminds me…a man goes to the doctor and tells him “Doctor, I can’t sleep at night. I keep thinking I’m playing a game of football.”  The doctor says to him: “Don’t worry, take these pills and they will help you sleep. You can start tonight.”

“I’m afraid not,” says the man. “I can’t tonight. We’re playing in the final.”


This column is a huge fan of Dr Muiris Houston who has been writing quality information about medicine in Ireland for decades now. And there’s no doubting the good doctor when it comes to his analysis of medicine in Ireland and how it works.

But one feels recently that perhaps the Irish Times are pushing him to write (right) the impossible – in this particular case, how does a patient go about knowing whether or not an Emergency Room is safe, and what can be done about it. (Almost nothing!)

True to his task, Muiris analyses the EDs in Ireland comes to the conclusion that the worst five are:

  • University Hospital Limerick – 1,971 patients
  • Galway University Hospital – 1,208 patients
  • Cork University Hospital – 1,096 patients
  • St Vincent’s University Hospital – 650 patients
  • Letterkenny University Hospital – 594 patients

Muiris then advises people not to go to their ED but instead to go to their GP. Or to a place like Laya or a VHI Clinic where you have to pay. “But what if you’re a poor person living in Limerick?” one might ask the Irish Times management team.

And the answer would be: “Well, if you’re poor and living in Limerick, then you’re probably not reading the Irish Times, are you? Problem solved.”

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