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“Tragic Monaghan death a sign of things to come” – Ó Caoláin

11 May, 2009 - by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD

Sinn Féin Dáil leader and Health spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has described the death of a man who suffered a heart attack at Knockatallon, Co. Monaghan as "a tragedy that bodes ill for others in the future" after it took 42 minutes for an ambulance to arrive.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

"Details have emerged of the death of a Donegal man who was attending his sister-in-law’s birthday party at the Slieve Beagh Hotel and Tourism Centre, Knockatallon, Co. Monaghan on 1 May. The man suffered a heart attack, CPR was carried out by nurses attending the event and an ambulance was called.

"It is an outrage that it took 42 minutes for an ambulance to arrive at the Slieve Beagh Hotel. The man suffered a second heart attack and was pronounced dead at the scene. The ambulance based in Monaghan General Hospital was en route to Cavan General Hospital and a Dundalk-based ambulance was called in.

"While we may never know what might have happened had an ambulance arrived earlier and conveyed the patient to either Monaghan or Cavan General Hospital, the fact is he did not have the chance of earlier hospital treatment which may have saved his life.

"This tragedy bodes ill for others in the future and is a sign of things to come with the threatened taking of Monaghan General Hospital ‘Off Call’ and the ending of all acute inpatient services from 31 May.

"The axing of these services in Monaghan General Hospital is totally unacceptable but even this is being carried out without the promised improvements in ambulance services being put in place. There has clearly been no improvement when it took an ambulance 42 minutes to get to the scene of this tragedy.

"The HSE ‘Transformation’ plan of April 2008 spoke of ‘extending and enhancing the ambulance service’ in the context of the downgrading of Monaghan General Hospital but we have seen no evidence of extension or enhancement, as this latest tragedy shows.

"The HSE, the Minister for Health & Children and the entire Fianna Fáil/Green Government, including its Cavan/Monaghan Oireachtas members, must live up to their responsibility and pull back from the brink now. Otherwise 31 May will prove to be, quite literally, a ‘dead line’ for many patients." ENDS

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