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John Collins at home in Cross.
John Collins at home in Cross. Photograph by John Kelly

Seven-month wait for angiogram patient

By Dan Danaher

A WEST  Clare public patient is becoming increasingly fearful he will suffer a heart attack before  his “crazy” seven month wait for an angiogram at University College Hospital, Galway (UHG) elapses.

John Collins, Cross, who can’t work for medical reasons and can’t afford private medical insurance, is worried about his health, after  an abnormality was detected after a stress test in the hospital on August 14, 2013.

According to Mr Collins, he was told he needed an angiogram and would get one within four or five months to make sure he was ok medically.

University College Hospital, Galway hadn’t responded to a number of Clare Champion queries at the time of press.

Mr Collins has got a verbal commitment from UHG that he will get an angiogram on March 12 next. Still waiting to get written confirmation of his appointment in an official letter, despite a number of requests, he described the delay as “crazy” and “disgraceful”.

He claimed he was initially told it could four or five months and became increasingly concerned as the wait stretched into six months.

Stating he had no difficulty with nurses, doctors or administrative staff at the hospital, he blames health expenditure cutbacks implemented by Health Minister, Dr James Reilly as the main reason for his unacceptable delay.

“I am getting pains across my chest and shoulders. I am afraid I will have a heart attack. I have  a valve problem. I believe I am a high risk factor for a heart attack. My heart is the  most important organ. If that isn’t right, nothing is right. I am worried I might have another blockage.

“I shouldn’t have to go public to try and get proper treatment. Are people in West Clare being left to die. I want an apology and I want to be seen. People with serious medical conditions should be treated with respect and dignity, regardless of whether they have private medical insurance.

“When I was going up and down to Dublin for treatment, I was called within a month or two. This is the worst ever. The quicker this Government is voted out of office the better.

“Why should we suffer while the Government bailed out the bondholders? It is a disgrace the ordinary people of the country have to suffer this type of treatment. It is not good enough.

When contacted by the Clare Champion at Mr Collins’ request, Deputy Timmy Dooley described the seven month waiting time as “inordinate” and “reprehensible”.

The Fianna Fáil Deputy said it was unacceptable for any cardiac public patient to wait so long for a procedure that would detect the level of risk for a heart attack or stroke.

Deputy Dooley recalled the reconfiguration of health services was supposed to transfer relatively minor medical procedures from large regional hospitals to smaller hospitals so the former could concentrate on providing specialist diagnostic treatment.

He expressed concern about the lack of appropriate care for public patients who didn’t have any private health insurance.

 

 

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