Monday 16 December 2019

'My loveable brother might be alive if cath lab was open in Waterford' - grieving sister of man who died in ambulance

University Hospital Waterford. Photo: Tony Gavin
University Hospital Waterford. Photo: Tony Gavin

Ralph Riegel

A woman whose brother died in an ambulance while being transferred from Waterford to Cork for a critical heart operation has challenged TDs to back a Dáil motion today demanding 24-hour cardiac services at University Hospital Waterford (UHW).

Catherine Power warned that the death of her brother Tom (40) had been totally avoidable and it was likely he would still be alive today if 24/7 cardiac services were available at UHW.

"If the cath [catheterisation] lab was opened at UHW, we wouldn't be listening to my mother crying herself to sleep every night missing her son," she said.

"We have been failed since 2010 - this campaign has gone on too long and the government was advised about lots of deaths.

"They were right with the warnings - my gentle, loveable and hard-working brother might still be alive if the cath lab was opened."

A motion will be brought before the Dáil today demanding immediate funding for the provision of round-the-clock cardiac services at UHW.

Labour leader Brendan Howlin has already backed the campaign, as has TD Mick Wallace, and a number of others throughout the south-east.

However, Ms Power warned she expected every TD in the south-east to back the motion. "We need the support of TDs from Waterford, Kilkenny, south Tipperary, Wexford and Carlow. I want all these TDs to remember that the human heart beats 24/7 - and not from 9am to 5pm."

Ms Power warned that if the Government didn't act to provide round-the-clock cardiac services at UHW, campaigners would consider a European Court of Justice challenge.

A compromise measure has resulted in UHW securing a mobile lab but this can deal only with diagnostics and not 'stent' procedures.

In an embarrassment for the Government, the main cath lab at UHW had to suspend procedures last December due to a problem with lab equipment. Patients had to temporarily be referred to CUH as a result.

Mr Power, a farmer, fell ill last June. He couldn't be treated at UHW and was rushed to Cork but died as his ambulance was passing Dungarvan.

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News