Thursday 22 February 2018

Locals 'being left to die at the side of the road' due to early closure at hospital cath lab

(Stock picture)
(Stock picture)

Ryan Nugent

A Kilkenny pensioner has told how he was moments from death because of the early closures of a Waterford cath lab.

Speaking to last night, Jimmy Fitzgerald (72), from Ferrybank, said that only his ambulance arrived seven minutes before the lab closed - he would have died following a heart attack.

Thomas Power and his wife Bernadette Delaney
Thomas Power and his wife Bernadette Delaney

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

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

However, his doctor interfered, saying that 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 closure, with Mr Fitzgerald explaining that they were lucky traffic was quiet. “If it had been on a Friday I  would not have made the hospital,” he said.

Meanwhile, Waterford woman, Maria Raftis (44) who has suffered from heart complications in recent years says she fears “being left to die at the side of the road” without a full-time cath lab.

Ms Raftis suffered with right atrial thrombus, which she was diagnosed with in 2012 - within a year of completing chemotherapy for breast cancer.

She, along with Mr Fitzgerald had contacted RTE's Liveline after hearing of the death of father-to-be Thomas Power (40) from Waterford, for the same reason.

Ms Raftis said the current situation in the south east is “sickening” saying that those living in the catchment area of Waterford University Hospital are “doomed” if they require 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.

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