Your Breast Surgery's off; Crisis Hospital Cancels Pregnant Woman's Life-Saving Operation

Daily Mail (London), May 19, 2011 | Go to article overview

Your Breast Surgery's off; Crisis Hospital Cancels Pregnant Woman's Life-Saving Operation


By Petrina Vousden Health Editor A PREGNANT woman had her breast-cancer surgery axed because of staff shortages at a major teaching hospital.

The 39-year-old, who is three months pregnant, was turned away from Galway University Hospital within the past two weeks.

Details of her case were revealed in the wake of colorectal surgeon Myles Joyce resigning from UHG because of inadequate theatre time.

Fine Gael TD Brian Walsh said he learned of the pregnant woman's shocking plight from a team of consultants at UHG.

He said: 'She needed surgery to have her breast removed but she was turned away when she arrived. It was another seven days before she had her operation. It's shameful.'

Mr Walsh said the HSe's recruitment moratorium had resulted in theatre nurse numbers falling from 129 in 2009 to 94 this year. He claimed that on Monday, seven of UHg's 16 theatres were closed, adding: 'It's the same every Monday. On tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, just 12 theatres are open.

'We all accept that there need to be cutbacks but the frontline should not be hit.'

The chairman of the HSE West Regional Forum, Cllr Padraig Conneely, has described the situation at the hospital - one of the eight designated 'centres of excellence' for breast cancer care - as 'appalling' He said: 'It is frightening.

This woman was pregnant. Can you imagine how concerned she was that everything would go okay for her and her baby during surgery?' UHG is the worst performing hospital in the country under the HSE's own Healthstat monitoring system.

Latest figures reveal there are 1,437 on its waiting list for inpatient procedures, with a further 2,853 waiting for day procedures.

Breast cancer survivor Catriona Mcgoldrick, who campaigned against Sligo Hospital's cancer services being transferred to galway, said of the woman: 'She must have been devastated.

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