Dáil debates location of cath lab services in wake of death of Waterford man Thomas Power

The tragic case of a young man who died while being transferred to hospital in Cork because of a lack of cardiac services in the south east has been raised in the Dáil, writes Elaine Loughlin.

Fianna Fáil's Billy Kelleher said the death highlighted the broader need for cardiac services for people living in Wexford, Kilkenny, south Tipperary and Waterford.

Expressing her condolences, Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald said that the programme for Government has promised a review of the services in Waterford.

But she added that services would have be located "on the very best clinical assessment".

"I recognise, as does everybody in this House, we have had a tragedy last weekend but the broader point that I want to make is on the provision.

"The precise location and the development of specialist services has to be based on the best clinical advice as to where those services should be placed.

"We have had a lot of debate in this House about specialist services and we know that we would be doing the very best for patients if we centralise in so far as possible, but also ensure that there is good access for people all around the country," she told the Dáil.

While Mr Kelleher said he did not want to add to the grief of the family by raising the issue he said there are "many questions" that need to be asked, both in the context of this individual case and the broader issue.

Thomas Power with his wife Bernadette on their wedding day.

Mr Kelleher told the Dáil: "Yesterday, a young man by the name of Thomas Power was buried in Ballygunner in Co Waterford. He has left behind a grieving wife, Bernadette, a mother, father and two sisters, and a broader community of family, friends and neighbours.

"The previous Sunday, Thomas Power drove to University Hospital Waterford, not feeling well. He was subsequently transferred by ambulance to Cork and died on the road to Cork, by Dungarvan. It raises many questions."

He queried whether Mr Power had been seen by a consultant, who travelled in the ambulance with him when he was being transferred to Cork, and asked if all protocols were followed in the normal procedure of transferring a patient?

The Cork North-Central TD added that a full clinical review is now needed.

"We need to get to the bottom of this. The tragedy that unfolded must not be in vain. We have to learn from this tragedy."

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