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Teenage sweethearts return to help out

March 30th, 2020 11:40 AM

By Kieran O'Mahony

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TWO West Cork doctors – teenage sweethearts since they met at The Boiler Room disco in Clonakilty  – have answered the HSE ‘On Call for Ireland’ drive and returned home from New Zealand to help frontline health staff in the fight against the Covid-19 virus.

Dr Aidan Coffey from Kilcolman near Enniskeane and Dr Lorna Kelly from Bandon, arrived home on Tuesday, having only made the decision to return home last Thursday.

Speaking to The Southern Star, while on route to Bantry where they will self-isolate in a house for two weeks, Dr Coffey said it has been a dramatic few days for them.

‘We signed up, booked the flights, told the family and we were making a lot of big decisions in the space of an hour like selling our car, furniture and saying goodbye to our friends,’ said Aidan.

Both of them were working as registrars in Hamilton and had been on a one year work holiday visa and were due home this July.

‘It suited us as we were coming back for training anyway, so we just brought forward our flights. We said we’d come home and work here and help serve the country, when the national health service is in crisis. They are the ones that trained us, and we are in a position to help,’ added Aidan.

He said that it’s bittersweet in one way to be coming home and not being able to hug their parents and family members.

‘All we can do is just wave and chat to them from the car, although my mum Annette said she would leave,  at a short distance, a big pot of stew for us to bring down to Bantry while we self-isolate.’

They were also lucky that all their flight plans worked out as they said many of their friends who wanted to come home, both to Ireland and the UK, were unable to do so due to cancelled flights and restricted travel.

‘The impact of Covid-19 is quite scary to be honest, and it will change the way we practise medicine that we are used to practising. We’re not going to be able to provide the care for patients that we would have been able to do a month ago.’

Aidan and Lorna are just two of over 60,000 people from home and abroad who have answered the HSE ‘On Call for Ireland’ recruitment drive.

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