asked the Minister for Defence whether, when demobilised men are ordered by an Army Medical Board to undergo an operation in hospital, any allowance is issued to their dependents, and whether if this is not the case, he will sanction the issue of such allowance as will prevent families having to go to the workhouse in consequence of the absence of their breadwinner as a result of injuries received on military service.
CEISTEANNA—QUESTIONS. ORAL ANSWERS. - MEDICAL TREATMENT OF EX-SOLDIERS.
On demobilisation all men are medically examined. In cases where it is clear that operations would be beneficial they are advised, but never ordered, to have the operations performed. If they accept this advice they are operated on in military hospitals gratuitously. The physical defects thereby remedied are usually neither attributable to nor aggravated by military service. The patients at the time have been demobilised, and allowances are therefore not issuable to dependents. The men themselves are medically treated and maintained on an ex gratia basis. If there are particular cases which the Deputy has in mind, I will undertake to consider them.
Does the President not think that it is a rather cruel choice to put before a man, either to go into hospital and leave his family without support, or continue to suffer from some ailment which might be cured if he went in and had the operation? Is it not conceivable that the best of men would refuse to undergo an operation and leave their families destitute?
His refusal to undergo an operation would not mean that he would be debarred from getting some employment, but there are a number of cases in which the circumstances are not the same, and I have had some of these cases under consideration. If particular cases are brought to my notice I will undertake to go into them.