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Mum 'fears dying at side of the road' over lack of cath lab


Mother-of-four Maria Raftis spoke out about her fears

Mother-of-four Maria Raftis spoke out about her fears

Mother-of-four Maria Raftis spoke out about her fears

A Waterford woman who suffers from heart complications says she fears "being left to die at the side of the road" because her local hospital doesn't have a full-time cath lab.

Maria Raftis (44), from Waterford city, was diagnosed with right atrial thrombus in 2012, within a year of completing chemotherapy for breast cancer.

Ms Raftis said the current situation in the south-east was "sickening", adding that those living in the catchment area of Waterford University Hospital were "doomed" if they required emergency heart treatment after 5pm during the week or at weekends.

"I've four daughters, they've already seen me come through a horror show," Ms Raftis said. "I didn't come through that horror show to end up dying on the side of the road at 5pm during the week or at the weekend.

"We are doomed from 5pm to 8am - the whole region is at risk," she added.

Ms Raftis had contacted RTÉ's 'Liveline' after hearing of the death of Waterford farmer Thomas Power, who passed away en route to Cork University Hospital on Sunday.

Jimmy Fitzgerald (72) also revealed he was minutes from death because of the early closures of the cath lab.

Speaking to the Irish Independent last night, Mr Fitzgerald, from Ferrybank, said that only they arrived seven minutes before the lab closed he could have died following a heart attack.

On October 13, 2015, Mr Fitzgerald contacted his doctor and the emergency services at around 3.45pm.

When the ambulance arrived shortly after 4pm, he said they were debating whether to go to St James's Hospital in Dublin or Cork University Hospital because they didn't expect to make it to Waterford on time.

However, his doctor said his patient would die if they went to either. "The doctor said 'he won't make it to Cork, he might not even make Waterford'," Mr Fitzgerald said.

They reached the Waterford hospital minutes before the cath lab shut. Mr Fitzgerald explained: "If it had been on a Friday I would not have made the hospital."

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