Limerick family hit out at HSE over death from blood clot

Nick Rabbitts


Nick Rabbitts

Devastated: front row; Stacey and Tara Hartigan, Michelle Kennedy, Michelle Mc Cormack, Chantelle Hartigan. In centre; Christopher Walsh. Back row; Ger Walsh, Dean Hartigan, Jimmy Greaney, and Jonathan Hartigan. The family are holding a picture of Frank Walsh, who died from a brain aneurysm. Picture: Mike Cowhey
THE family of a man who died from an aneurysm will take legal action against the HSE after the delay of his scans caused his premature death.

THE family of a man who died from an aneurysm will take legal action against the HSE after the delay of his scans caused his premature death.

Both the Walsh and Hartigan families - who hail from Carew Park, but now many of whom live in Ballysheedy - were left devastated when Frank Walsh died last month from a blood clot in his brain.

Father-of-one Frank - a welder by trade - was told he had two aneurysms in December - one the size of a golf ball - and was placed on the priority list for a number of treatments, with one option being a brain bypass.

But he only secured an appointment at Beaumont Hospital in Dublin on May 1 - three days after his tragic death, aged only 37.

Doctors had told Frank there was a major threat to his life, and he was sent to have a CT scan in Cork.

But despite several calls from his partner of five years Shelly Kennedy, there was no more progress until April, when he was booked in for an appointment in May.

The problem had originally risen after Frank was sent for an MRI scan at the Limerick Regional Hospital after complaining of headaches.

Shelley said his life could have been saved if he hasn’t been treated as “just a number”.

The waiting period from his last appointment in February was “hell” she said.

“He didn’t get a chance. They just treated him as a number: like he wasn’t important enough to them. I cannot even put into words how angry I am with them,” she said, referring to the HSE.

Despite constant phone calls, Shelly said she was getting the run-around.

“It was sheer hell: I just cannot put it into words. We were constantly worried about rupturing: we tried our best. We rang them up, but every time we rang, there was always an excuse,” she explained.

Shelly - who has been suffering from panic attacks since the tragedy - described Frank as her “soulmate”.

“He had such a big heart. He was such a genuine person - very lovable. There is no-one else for me.”

Frank’s sister Tina Hartigan has no doubt his life could have been saved.

“He was a fit, strong, healthy guy, outside of the kidney problems he had,” she said.

Pointing at a photograph of him - which appears to the right of this story - Tina added: “This photograph was taken only a few weeks before his death. He definitely had the fight in him.”

Confirming her family were meeting with solicitors, she added: “We will do everything we can. We just want some sort of an answer, because we have heard nothing from any hospital.”

Frank’s brother, Ger Walsh directed his anger at Health Minister Dr James Reilly.

“If that man was in this room, I would not be responsible for my action. My brother was left to die when something could have been done. In my eyes, the minute they realised how big of an aneurysm he had, they should have acted,” he said.

Shelly feels the family will be lucky to get an apology from the HSE.

Even if they do, she says, it will not satisfy her.

“It is not going to bring my partner back, or their brother back. I just feel very angry towards them. They will probably get a slap on the wrist, and go away again. But if we can save one family from having to go through what we have gone through, it would mean something to us,” she said. Frank died after a CT scan on April 28.

The HSE were not available for comment as the Leader went to press.