The wife of a Waterford man who died while being transferred to Cork has called on the health minister to urgently review cardiac services in the South East.
The inquest into the death of 40 year old Thomas Power heard he suffered a ‘silent heart attack’ so severe that even had a Waterford cath lab been open it would have made little difference to saving him.
Assistant State Pathologist Dr Margaret Bolster said he died from a very large tear in his heart wall which had been brought on by a silent heart attack 3 to 7 days beforehand.
Consultant Cardiologist at St Vincent’s, Dr Ross Murphy found Mr Power had suffered such a severe tear to his heart muscle that only immediate full open heart surgery could have saved him.
The Irish Times reports that Dr Murphy said a 3 cms long rupture was so severe that stenting was not an option and Mr Power would either have had to have the blood drained immediately with a tap or undergo full open heart surgery within two to five minutes at a full cardiac surgery centre to have any chance of survival.
UHW does not provide full open heart surgery, the only designated cardiac surgery centres are at the Mater Hospital and St James’s Hospital in Dublin, Cork University Hospital and University Hospital Galway.
The inquest was also told that paramedics ran out of adrenalin during the 90 minute ambulance journey and had to get more from a second ambulance.
Both Dr Murphy and interventional cardiologist at UHW, Dr John O’Dea said the fact that medical staff and paramedics in the ambulance carrying Mr Power to CUH ran out of adrenaline after administering six doses was of no consequence as adrenaline and CPR were of no use in the case of such a severe heart rupture.
The jury returned a verdict of death by natural causes – but issued a recommendation that Simon Harris review resuscitation drug packs provided in ambulances for patient transfers between hospitals.
Speaking on behalf of his wife Bernadette solicitor Gillian O’Mahony had this message for the health minister: “”I would now urge the Government to improve cardiac services in the south east region and to reconsider the provision of a second permanent cath lab at University Hospital Waterford to serve the people of the south east on a 24/7 basis.
“This is a service sadly lacking at the moment,” she said.
Cork’s 96FM and C103 news reporter Fiona Corcoran was outside court this afternoon:
Minister @SimonHarrisTD asked to improve cardiac services in #SouthEast and review provision of medicines in ambulances. Solicitor Gillian OMahony speaking on behalf of Bernadette Power whose husband Thomas died of a heart attack while being transferred from #Waterford to #CUH pic.twitter.com/5IsHFhhHcp
— Fiona Corcoran (@fiona96fmnews) April 19, 2018