Prof. Colm O'Moráin, Consultant Gastroenterologist
Professor O'Moráin is a Consultant Gastroenterologist. He has served as president of The Irish Society of Gastroenterology and United European Gastroenterology, and is the Ireland representative at the European Crohn's and Colitis Organisation. Although retired from public practice, Professor O'Moráin continues to practice at the Charlemont Clinic in Dublin.
I have had a long association with Crohn's & Colitis. It awarded me my first research grant when I returned to Ireland to investigate the immune function in Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), I have marvelled in its growth and its importance.
There is no doubt that the more informed patient is able to cope with the disease. IBD is increasing in incidences with an estimated 40,000 sufferers in Ireland. The disease affects all ages and its course can vary from very mild to severe. The real challenge is to find the cause of this sometimes devastating disease. The disease is more common in developed countries and in the West which would point on an environmental cause. This maybe diet which can have an effect on the internal environment of the gut influencing the myriad of micro-organism that reside there.
There is need for better education for both patients and medical personnel dealing with this condition. The management of IBD should be multi-disciplinary and the patient’s play a key role in the partnership. Other participants should be not only Gastroenterologists but Surgeons, Radiologists, Pathologists, Nurse Specialists, Dieticians and Psychologists.
It is important to highlight the importance of this disease to the lay-public, hospital management and Politicians. The disease is largely unknown and can place financial burden on patients who often need long-term medication and need help to cope with this demand.
There are many unmet needs. One of the most important is the delay in diagnosis. Patients are often only diagnosed by presenting to an Accident and Emergency Department.
There has been a rapid expansion in new treatments. Doctors need to keep abreast of all of the advantages and disadvantages of these therapies.
Patient’s themselves are powerful advocates in demanding proper resources to manage IBD. CCI are at the forefront to ensure that patient’s with IBD have a voice and are listened to.