Stroke survivor speaks out in support of local unit

Stephen McAloon, Chairman of the Fermanagh Stroke Support Group

Ahead of next week’s crucial public meeting on the future of Enniskillen’s under threat stroke unit, one local survivor has urged the people of Fermanagh to come out in support of the highly-important facility which has served the community for the past 30 years. 
Stephen McAloon, chairman of the newly-formed ‘Save Our Stroke Services’ action group, was speaking ahead of the upcoming public consultation on controversial proposals by the HSCB to re-shape local stroke services. This meeting, open to all members of the public to attend, will take place on Monday next, September 11 at 6.30pm at the Killyhevlin Hotel.
Mr McAloon is encouraging all local people to attend to campaign against the stroke services being reduced or removed from the South West Acute Hospital – a move that could potentially result in fatalities if crucial treatment is delayed or made unavailable locally.
Wednesday November 19, 2008 is a date Stephen will never forget.
“It was around 8pm when I was working in my office on my own and about to make a phone call,” he recalled. “As I lifted the phone, it suddenly fell out of my hand. I then went to get up off the chair and collapsed across the floor. Still conscious, I tried to get up but realised my left side was completely numb so I crawled onto my right side which was okay.”
Having to crawl outside with his mobile phone to get signal, Stephen phoned his partner Nuala, who rang the ambulance who were immediately on the scene.
Within the hour, Stephen was lying in the old Erne Hospital – and even before his arrival, staff were fully-aware that he had taken a stroke. He said the fast actions of the nursing staff in Enniskillen’s Stroke Ward saved his life.
“Because of the excellent team there I am still here today to tell the story. I received first class treatment which has resulted positively on my condition today.”
Stephen believes that a reduction in stroke services in SWAH will result in some extra 1,500 journeys to other hospitals, which will result in added pressure on the ambulance service.
He added: “I have been told the new air ambulance will not attend stroke victims. It will just not be possible to get Fermanagh people to Altnagelvin or Belfast in the time scale for stroke victims.”

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