Based on a true story, show takes us on an emotional journey

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A woman who lives in an Irish town tells her husband she’s going to a conference in Dublin. Instead, she flies to New York City for plastic surgery.

After things go wrong at a Park Ave. plastic surgeon’s office, we see how the desire to be better can lead us to doctors we know little about and situations where we lose everything.

“Lady from Limerick” by Claude Solnik is loosely based on the story of Kathleen Kelly Cregan, a woman from Limerick who died after plastic surgery in 2005.

The show debuts at the Theater for the New City April 10-April 20 starring Deborah Kruel Rupy, John Moore, Daniel Schinina, Brooke Turner and Dean Scott Schildkraut, and directed by Rayelle Bradley.

Performances are Thurs.- Sat. April 10-12 and 17-19 at 8 p.m., and Sun. April 13 and 20 at 3 p.m. at Theater for the New City, 155 First Ave. between 9th and 10th Sts.

following performances April 10-13 and April 20.

Discussions will be led by:
April 10 William Liss-Levinson, Chief Strategy & Operations Officer, Castle Connolly. America’s Top Doctors
April 11 Joanne Doroshow, Founder and Executive Director, Center for Justice & Democracy
April 12 Randi Redmond Oster, Author and founder Empowered Patients. Improved Outcomes
April 13Suzanne Mattei – New Yorkers for Patient and Family Empowerment
April 20 Andrea Goldstein, RN Vice President for Medicare/Federal Health Care Assessment at IPRO

At a time when TV shows such as “The Swan” portrayed plastic surgery as an easy way to find perfection, Kathleen Cregan decided to travel in search of the best.

The desire to be better that prompts her to come to New York isn’t that different from what prompts so many people to come here,” Solnik said. “When things go wrong, we learn things that, if they had been clear earlier, might have led to a different outcome.”

Kathleen Cregan’s family later found out that her doctor had faced numerous law suits and had triggered additional oversight. He traveled around the world, attracting patients from as far as Ireland.

The play shows how the desire to look the way we feel can lead us to travel around the world to find what we believe is the best.

And we see how when something goes wrong in plastic surgery, it ignites questions regarding fault, error and questions about the entire medical system.

“The Hippocratic oath is to first do no harm,” said Mike DeLuise, one of the play’s producers and a veteran theater PR man who promoted the original Broadway productions of “Hair” and “42nd St.” “But surgery can do damage.”

DeLuise lost much of his vision due to errors in cataract surgery only to learn that his doctor had faced many problems. ‘By then,” he added, “the damage was done.”

The show tells the story of a couple willing to do anything for each other – and the lengths we go to live up to our dreams.

But it also opens a window into difficulties in finding out about problems in a physician’s past, the risks of even simple procedures and issues that affect millions of others.

“We need to know as much as possible about doctors,” Ilene Corina, patient advocate, president of Pulse of NY and co-producer, said. “When doctors face a lot of litigation, we should know.”

Corina founded a patient advocacy group after her son Michael died following a tonsillectomy. “We can’t stop every infection and every error,” she said. “But we have to do everything we can to protect patients.”

The play also peers into the world of plastic surgery where patients sometimes arrive, brandishing photos of celebrities.

While most types of surgery are done in hospitals, plastic surgery can be done in offices, making it even more important to do due diligence.

Board certified can be misleading, since there are several boards, organizations can have a membership of one and fame can show marketing not mastery.

“She did everything right and everything could have gone the way she planned,” Solnik said. “The play shows us a woman who doesn’t just dream, but acts on her dreams.”

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Experts, advocates and new play based on true story share stage

As the nation focuses on the cost of healthcare and the Affordable Care Act, healthcare experts, care providers and advocates will join forces for discussions following a new play based on the human cost of medical error.

PULSE of NY, a patient advocacy group founded by Ilene Corina, in conjunction with the Theater for the New City is presenting “Lady From Limerick” and discussions April 10-20 at the Theater for the New City.

Talkbacks/discussions will follow performances April 10-13 and April 20 led by a wide range of experts. They are part of the presenation of a play, and discussions, designed to shine a spotlight on what happens to individuals and families when mistakes occur in the medical system.

“Lady From Limerick” is based on the story of Kathleen Cregan who traveled from Ireland to New York for plastic surgery. Cregan died as a result of the surgery performed by a doctor who, unbeknownst to her, had a long record of litigation. She was removed from life support on St. Patrick’s Day, 2005.

Ilene Corina, who is co-producing the play with Theater for the New City and organizing discussions, founded PULSE of NY after losing her son following what was supposed to be routine surgery.

She then lobbied for more access to information about physicians, finally standing beside Gov. George Pataki on October 6, 2000 and speaking at the bill signing for the New York State Health Information and Quality Improvement Act of 2000.

We can’t leave the patient’s voice out of all of this. This is bringing healthcare back to where it belongs,” Corina said. “Patient education, patient knowledge and family involvement are all important.”

A recent study brought the numbers of medical error deaths to over 400,000 a year, higher than the 1999 Institute of Medicine report that concluded as many as 98,000 people die annually of preventable medical error in hospitals at a cost of $29 billion. That would make medical error the third most prevalent cause of death.

Where do we fit as patients to make sure injuries don’t happen?” Corina asked. “Part of it is education. It’s like teaching the patient about diabetes or breast cancer. Why aren’t we talking about safety? We need to put safety and quality of care on the table as part of the discussion.”

Claude Solnik wrote “Lady From Limerick” after reading an article in The New York Times about Cregan that, he said, told one person’s story about an all too common tragedy. I realized that most people would focus on other news after they
finished reading the article
,” Solnik said. “ I wanted to try to prevent this woman's story from being forgotten.”

The American Medical Association’s code of medical ethics as of 2012 calls for the physician and patient to be bound in a partnership in which both play roles in the healing process. Yet this culture shift is only slowly happening.

Every patient counts,” said Corina, whose group launched a campaign called “One is a Number” seeking to stamp out medical error as much as possible. “Every patient’s important.

Discussions will be led by:

April 10
William Liss-Levinson, Ph.D., VP, Chief Strategy & Operations Officer Castle Connolly.
America’s Top Doctors.
Levinson since 1997 has helped lead a nationally renowned healthcare research, information, and publishing company that seeks to identify “top doctors.”

April 11
Joanne Doroshow, Founder and Executive Director, Center for Justice & Democracy

The founder and executive director of the Center for Justice & Democracy and co-founder of Americans for Insurance Reform. She is also adjunct professor at New York Law School.

April 12
Randi Redmond Oster, Author and founder Empowered Patients. Improved Outcomes

After working at GE for 18 years, she left to care for her elderly parents and children and start her own business in the health care industry. Her healthcare passion stems from caring for her son’s chronic disease – Crohn's. She experienced first-hand the need for loved ones to understand the system prior to a crisis.

April 13
Suzanne Mattei – New Yorkers for Patient and Family Empowerment

An attorney with over 30 years of experience in public interest law and policy, she conducted research and advocacy that helped obtain passage of the New York City Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Act in 2004. She advocated for patients’ rights and other consumer rights as Public Policy Director for the Alliance for Consumer Rights, a project of the NYS Trial Lawyers Association, and served as Assistant Advocate to Mark Green when he served as Public Advocate for the City of New York.

April 20
Andrea Goldstein RN Vice President for Medicare/Federal Health Care Assessment at IPRO

As the vice president for Medicare/Federal Health Care Assessment at IPRO, the federally funded Quality Improvement Organization for New York State, Ms. Goldstein has management responsibility for the review of Medicare beneficiary expedited appeals of provider decisions not to cover, resolution of beneficiary complaints quality of care and three
special projects providing chronic disease self-management and empowerment skills to the underserved.


Thursday - Sunday, April 10 - 20

Thursday - Saturday at 8pm, Sunday at 3pm

All Seats $15
Students & Seniors $10

TDF @$9 Available

Click here to buy tickets to Lady From Limerick via



Theater for the New City
155 First Avenue
(between 9th and 10th Streets)
New York, NY 10003
Telephone: (212) 254-1109
Fax: (212) 979-6570


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