Man who died in hospital transfer was a ‘loyal, gentle person'

Thomas Power 'was looking forward to birth of his first child' when he died in ambulance

Bernadette Delaney and Thomas Power on their wedding day last September.

Bernadette Delaney and Thomas Power on their wedding day last September.

 

The wife of a 40-year-old farmer who died while enroute to hospital in Cork from Waterford has spoken of a “quiet, loyal, gentle person” who was looking forward to the arrival of their first child later this year.

Tom Power was buried on Wednesday in Ballygunner, on the edge of Waterford city. Three days earlier his death had caused shock and controversy when it emerged he died in an ambulance after being transferred from hospital in Waterford because its catheterisation lab was closed for the weekend.

Mr Power, who got married just last year to Bernadette, died 35 minutes into the ambulance journey. His death comes amid ongoing debate about the lack of round-the-clock cath lab services for heart attack patients in the south-east.

Bernadette Power told hundreds of mourners at his funeral Mass that Tom was her “best friend, soulmate” and the couple were “like two peas in a pod, always a good team”.

“He was a quiet, loyal, gentle person and never had a bad word to say about anyone,” she said. “If the phone rang and someone needed a hand, he was there no questions asked. He was a fine, handsome man and my God wasn’t I a lucky woman when I met Tom. We packed a lot into our years together and enjoyed every single day we had together.”

Tom “loved farming,” she said, having been taught everything he knew by his parents, Eileen and Michael. In an emotionally-charged address to the congregation, she vowed to continue on his farm work, “and make Tom proud of me as I was of him every single day”.

She described him as “a shining light in my heart” and said he will always be with her and their baby, who is due in December. “He was so looking forward to having Santy in the home, but he is magical now.”

The couple were due to move into their new family home shortly and Tom put “so much love” into that home. “Myself and the baby will feel that love every day. We will be there, and he will always be there with us.”

Parish priest Fr Liam Power said the nature of Tom’s death had “touched a chord nationally” because of its suddenness and the fact he was in the prime of his life.

“It is indeed unjust, I think, that Tom didn’t have the same opportunity for cardiac care that is available in other parts of the country. Please God Tom’s death may not be in vain and facilities might be put in place to ensure that the people of the south-east will have access to a level of cardiac care that is afforded to citizens in other parts of the country.”

Among the symbols of Tom’s life which were brought to the altar were a wedding photograph, a hat which he wore while out farming, a bird box he made at the men’s shed, and a photo of the scan of the baby due later this year.