Pensioner worried husband might not survive two-year waiting list for procedure: 'It's critical, his heart is getting weaker'
A pensioner has said she's worried her husband might not survive the two year waiting list for a "critical" heart procedure.
Breda Mac Coiligh’s husband, Eamonn, has Atrial Fibrillation - also known as "Ab Fibs" - which can cause an irregular heartbeat.
Speaking on Liveline on RTE Radio One, she said that he has suffered seven potentially-fatal cardioversions in the past 15 months - two of which happened within just 12 hours of each other.
Breda, who is from Ballymote in Co Sligo, said: "We could be sitting at home and he'd be fine, all of his sudden his heart starts racing and we have to jump in the car and get to nearest hospital, which is probably a 20 minute drive away, but to be honest I've probably done it in ten with him half-unconscious...
"An ambulance would take too long so I just have to get him into the front and put my hazards on, hoping the gardai might see and assist.
"Most of the time he's semi-comatose and I'm just begging him to stay awake."
He needs a pulmonary vein isolation day-procedure on his heart but has been told it could take up to two years to get it done on the public health system.
She said they were told in the hospital in January that due to the severity of Eamonn's condition he could hopefully have it done within three months but so far it hasn't happened.
She said: "I was told if he went private he could have it done next week, I initially thought I could just go to the Credit Union but then I was told it would be €26,000 to €28,000.
"I sat back, I was astonished, we're pensioners, we have a few bob in the Credit Union and I thought maybe if it was €6,000 or €7,000 I could borrow it but the hospital offered me a monthly repayment plan and never in a million years could I afford to pay that back."
Retired taxi driver Eamonn is currently on a medicine which causes him to have a shortness of breath and he can no longer walk much without help.
Breda said that her husband respiratory consultant has advised them to stop the medication but if they do it could lead to more episodes and that she doesn’t know if her husband will be able to handle the two years as his condition is worsening.
She said: "His heart is getting weaker and weaker, it's critical. We don't have any quality of life really...
"He used to enjoy maybe going out for a drink once a week or maybe going for meals but he's afraid now to do anything, he could go into a fib any time."