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Full investigation needed after heart attack sufferer turned away by hospital

Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow John Brady has said that it is utterly unacceptable that a man suffering a severe heart attack was turned away from St. Columcille’s Hospital in Loughlinstown because he did not have a GP referral letter.

Deputy Brady said:

“Last Wednesday, a local man presented at St. Columcille’s complaining of severe chest pains and an inability to breath. He was told by staff that he would not be seen without a GP referral letter. Despite pleading for medical assistance, staff insisted that he would not be seen. When the man sat down in the waiting area, unable to remain standing, he was again told there was no point in waiting and that he would not be seen.

“The man took a bus back to Bray in an attempt to reach his GP’s office. After disembarking the bus, and walking towards the GP surgery, he collapsed on the Main Street. Luckily, passers-by stopped and eventually resuscitated him before flagging down a passing training ambulance whose crew stabilised the man and brought him to St. James’s. Having undergone major surgery, the man is now thankfully, in a stable condition.

“This is one case which serves to demonstrate the danger of downgrading local hospitals and replacing A&Es with Minor Injury Units. I have contacted the Hospital Manager to request an immediate meeting to discuss the protocols and hospital policy in place which seen a seriously ill man turned away from his local hospital. It is only for the heroic actions of passers-by in Bray that saved this man’s life.

Health Minister Simon Harris has been in direct contact with the hospital group in connection with this case and understands an investigation is under way, he expects a meeting will take place with the patient in due course.

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