Thursday, 18th January 2018
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Vigil

It was one of the first things that was said when the whole out of hours closure of the cardiac unit in UHW was first debated, that people would get a better service if they could use the unit down in Cork and that Waterford people would see the benefit of this. Of course there was a huge outcry and it was repeatedly said that this was just an accident waiting to happen and that someone would die as a result. And that, it appears, is exactly what happened with the death of Thomas Power. And that is why hundreds of Waterford people were holding a vigil for the man who died on his way to Cork because of the closure of the cardiac unit out of hours. It is ironic that in the same week that this happened that a tender was put out for the second mobile cath lab for the UHW. Again you can see it as something too little too late.

It is no wonder that emotions are running high over this whole debacle as it is something that could literally happen to anyone of any age if they found themselves in need of coronary care. At the moment it is akin to a lottery, if you are in trouble but are ill within the right hours then you can be seen. If ill but in the wrong hours then you have to go to Cork and as it has been proven and expressly spoken about by his family this is the reason why they think that he died.

It is no wonder that the whole issue has been raised in the Dail and it has to be said that the answers given by the Taoiseach were horrific. Not just insensitive but wholly and thoroughly ill thought out. No doubt the Taoiseach was not trying to be insensitive when he was speaking on the matter but that is the way that he came across. He trotted out the party line with no consideration for the particulars of the case It just sounded like something he had learned off by rote. It was just another case of adding insult to injury and another reason for the anger that was palpable at the vigil some nights ago.

It is absolutely clear that there is a certain attitude amongst national politicians that if it doesn't happen in their own back yard then it doesn't exist. The old logic of 'we don't have the money' or 'the system we have already in place is good enough' seem to be the ones that they rely on again and again. Unfortunately it seems this could have been the logic that led to the untimely demise of Thomas Power. It will be of no comfort to his family that there was a procedure in place that meant he had to be brought to Cork only to die when he got to Dungarvan.

Again as has been mentioned there were two overwhelming feelings at the vigil that were held for Mr. Power, the first anger that it happened in the first place and secondly the feeling that it could have happened to anyone. In fact in interviews at the vigil a number of previous patients at the cardiac unit mentioned how lucky they were that they just happened to be treated in standard opening hours. This is the first case of it's kind that has happened over not having comprehensive cardiac care in Waterford, lets hope it's the last. Without 24/7 cardiac care it is reasonable to assume it won’t be the last.

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