Family of stroke victim in plea to save SWAH unit

A FERMANAGH family whose mother is currently a patient in the SWAH stroke unit has spoken out about the devastating affect its closure would have on other families across the county. 

Lisnaskea woman Kathleen McCaffrey (78) has been a patient in the unit for around ten weeks after she suffered two serious strokes. 

The McCaffrey family, who have kept a constant vigil by her bedside over the past few months, have now raised almost £600 for the unit which remains under threat of closure as part of a major health review.

“So far we’ve been happy with the way they have been looking after our mum,” said son Paul in praise of the stroke unity staff. “They couldn’t be doing more for her. They’ve been very good.”

Mr McCaffrey said his mother was now unfortunately paralysed completely on one side, and has limited use of her other side. As a result she cannot talk or swallow, and Mr McCaffrey and his siblings have been taking turns sitting with her, first for 24 hours and now 12 hours a day. 

If the SWAH stroke unit had not been there, the family would have had to travel daily. 
“We’d have no other choice, we would have to have someone there for 12 hours a day, we would have to do it,” said Mr McCaffrey, who added if the unit closed the emergency response time would never match what it is currently available. 

“From them to get from Derry to here, the other side of Lisnaskea, it would be two hours,” he said. “Thankfully we had the emergency response service here and an ambulance here taking her to hospital where she got specialist care within 15 minutes of the call, 20 minutes maximum.”

The McCaffrey family raffled a bench, made by Paul and which would normally retail for £330, and raised £590 for the stroke unit. 

“The staff have been amazing and we wanted to show our appreciation and our support to keep this brilliant unit open,” said Mr McCaffrey.

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