Call for public inquest into death of Waterford man Thomas Power

Thomas Power with his wife Bernadette on their wedding day last September

A public inquest into the death of Waterford man Thomas Power, who died of a heart attack in the back of an ambulance on its way to Cork, has been requested by his family.

“That’s what everybody wants. The only way to resolve this is through a public inquest,” his sister Catherine Power told the Irish Examiner.

The South East Patient Advocacy Group (SEPAG) is supporting the family’s call for a “full public inquest” into Mr Power’s death.

Mr Power, 40, had presented to University Hospital Waterford (UHW) with a pain in his chest on Sunday, June 18, but was sent to Cork because the cath lab was not open in his home county.

The UHW cath lab, where cardiac tests and procedures take place, only operates Monday to Friday 9am-5pm.

He died 20 minutes into the journey.

The patient advocacy group also called for the “immediate implementation of 24/7 cardiac care” at UHW.

“We cannot have any more needless deaths,” said Hilary O’Neill of SEPAG yesterday.

“People are telling me they are scared they will have a heart attack and die because there is now heightened awareness of the fact that the cath lab is closed every evening after 5pm and at the weekend.

“Most heart attacks occur at these times. All we are asking for is a fighting chance and we are being denied that.”

The advocacy group also called for the mobile cath lab to be installed immediately (it is currently planned for a September launch date) to allow the main laboratory to be used for interventional cardiology.

“The simple solution is to install the mobile cath lab immediately which can operate 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday performing diagnostics and some routine procedures,” said Ms O’Neill.

“This would leave the cath lab at University Hospital Waterford available for interventional cardiology on a 24/7 basis until a second permanent cath lab can be put in place. It is not an unreasonable request and we feel it can be done and it may prevent more needless deaths in the region.”


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