Heart attack by appointment only
Sir, – I refer to Katherine Hayes’s article (“Warning on out-of-hours cardiac policy”, October 10th). When I suffered a major unexpected heart attack on September 30th at 9pm, I had no idea what I was about to face. Having been told by Limerick Regional Hospital that no ambulance was available, I was driven to the hospital and struggled into casualty. A thrombolysis was performed but was unsuccessful.
I had no idea that this was the extent of the treatment available that night and that no angiogram or stent procedures were available in the hospital.
This was a Sunday night and such services were not available until the following morning. It was heart attack by appointment only! A correct decision was made to move me by ambulance to University College Hospital Galway, where at 3.30am on Monday an angiogram was performed, a clot removed and two stents inserted.
I cannot describe adequately the trauma, excruciating pain and terror of the journey from Limerick to Galway. I am told I am lucky to be alive.
This was my first encounter with emergency services and the “system” on a serious level and I felt hugely let down by the HSE in Limerick.
Limerick is a major urban area and the Limerick Regional Hospital services an enormous hinterland in the south west. One would expect the full complement of what is now regarded as normal cardiac services to be available on a 24/7 basis. I shudder to think of what a full review of emergency services would reveal! – Yours, etc,