A LOCAL councillor has said he fears to think what the consequences could have been if emergency surgery was not available locally when his daughter was born.
Cllr Anthony Feely told his story at a meeting on the threat to emergency surgery at the SWAH held in Garrison last week, one of many community meetings taking place around the county at the moment.
Speaking to the Herald afterwards, Cllr Feely said he was heartened by the unity in the community on the issue and the fact all local representatives in the county were united in their opposition to the removal of the service.
“Everybody is against it. We’re all on the one wavelength and there are no splits. That’s the only good thing about this,” he said.
He added, “It’s not about politics, it’s about life and death.”
Speaking of life and death, Cllr Feely then told his family’s own life-saving surgery story.
Noting it took place at the old Erne Hospital, he said the outcome of removing the surgery from the SWAH would be the same.
“When my daughter was born, we didn’t know when it was going to happen, which is totally normal. Long story short, in the end my wife ended up having to have an emergency C-section,” he said.
“If that service wasn’t there you’d have to go to Belfast, and you wouldn’t know what would happen. Your wife or your child could die. It’s as important as that.”
Cllr Feely also noted patients in places like Garrison would be particularly put at risk, as it is one of the furthest communities in the county from either Derry or Craigavon.
Last month a group of concerned local consultants signed a joint letter raising their concerns for women and babies if the emergency surgery service is removed.
“Harm will come to patients, and the reality of this needs to be made clear to the public,” the group of obstetric and gynaecological consultants warned.
The Western Trust has since stated that, as part of its contingency planning measures ahead of the potential removal of the service, it has invited the in the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists to provide assurances the move may have.
To read more.. Subscribe to current edition