Urgent case waited six months for slot
Published 14/11/2011 | 05:00
Kathleen Oliver (63) has survived two heart attacks and a mini-stroke -- but she still faced a wait of six months for a vital diagnostic scan.
Mrs Oliver, from Kells, Co Meath, who was a patient at Navan Hospital, was referred for an angiogram to the Mater Hospital in Dublin last February to check the flow of blood in her heart.
However, despite her condition, she was told it would be October before a slot could be found for her.
The angiogram was needed to tell what kind of treatment she needed for a leak in her aortic valve, which could involve major surgery.
"I rang in October to check the date, but was told the angiogram had to be postponed again," said Mrs Oliver, a divorced grandmother.
"But I took a bad turn in recent weeks and had to be admitted to Navan Hospital.
"I had not felt well but I don't like to call a doctor at night, so I took my spray and went to bed.
"I also dread having to be put on a trolley for hours or days in an A&E unit.
"When I was seen by the doctors in Navan, they decided I could not be allowed home because I was in danger of a massive heart attack."
She had to spend another long stint in Navan Hospital before she was taken to the Mater Hospital, where she eventually got the angiogram.
She said she encountered patients at the hospital who were much sicker that she was, yet they too had been waiting for the procedure.
Mrs Oliver said: "I think it is ridiculous that I had to wait that long. While I was in hospital, one of my dogs, Bessie, died, but she had been seen by the vet in 24 hours. It's a pity that public patients aren't getting that same care."
A spokesperson for the Mater Hospital said: "Angiogram referrals are clinically reviewed and clinical priority is allocated to patients categorised as urgent, soon or routine."