HEART attack victims will no longer be taken by ambulance to Galway after the HSE confirmed a cath lab at Limerick Regional Hospital can operate on a 24-7 basis from next Tuesday.
For some weeks, Limerick patients who have suffered a particular kind of heart attack known as a STEMI have been unable to get an angiogram and life-saving surgical intervention in Limerick outside the hours of 8am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.
Subjecting such seriously ill patients to a 90-minute ambulance journey had been described as potentially “unsafe” by senior Limerick cardiologist Dr Brendan Meaney. The support staff are in place for the cath lab in Limerick to operate round-the-clock and the HSE has confirmed that the final hurdle – an inspection of the lab – has now been overcome and Limerick will be a designated national centre for acute coronary syndrome patients from Tuesday, October 30.
Welcoming the announcement, Fine Gael TD Kieran O’Donnell said: “Rosters will have to be put in place to facilitate the 24/7 service, but I understand this will not take too long”.
“I have worked extremely hard to achieve this outcome since it emerged that a new protocol led to patients with STEMI-type heart attacks people being directed to Galway University Hospital.
“This is about Limerick people having parity within the system and we deserve nothing less. The situation where people could not be treated in Limerick should never have come about,” Deputy O’Donnell said.