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Tommy's nurse girlfriend saved him with diagnosis

IRELAND rugby star Tommy Bowe's girlfriend identified a life-threatening ailment which led him to undergo crucial surgery.

Welsh-born Lucy Whitehouse was practising her nursing skills on her boyfriend by taking blood pressure levels.

Ms Whitehouse (23) is a nurse at Barry Hospital in Cardiff and noticed something serious was wrong, but initially Tommy said he didn't believe her early diagnosis.

"She said, 'Jesus, that's very high' and I told her, 'You're not very good at your job'," the Ireland star said.

But eventually Tommy (28) listened to her and paid a visit his team doctor at the Ospreys where it was discovered that he had high hypertension.

And when he travelled over to Ireland for the Six Nations, doctors immediately sent him to hospital for further examination.

"A lot of the tests came back normal until they did a scan on my kidneys and I had a large haematoma, or a large bruise, near my kidney and it was bending my kidney, which looked like an hourglass it was so distorted."

"The blood was struggling to get through and it was releasing a hormone to tell my heart to pump harder."

Tommy, who has signed a three-year deal to return to Ulster, spent six hours in surgery, nine days in hospital and has four scars on his stomach.

It was his first ever surgery and Tommy admitted that he underestimated what was involved.

"It was scary enough. I hear of boys going to operations week in, week out."