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I've waited more than a year for a heart op; HEALTH: City dad's life hanging in the balance as he waits for vital treatment.

Byline: By Helena Markovic

DAD Stephen Alesbury has been told he could die at any moment.

He desperately needs a heart operation, but, after 14 months, he's still waiting.

The 63-year-old, of Torrington Avenue, Tile Hill South, Coventry, blames the delays on the city's Walsgrave Hospital.

Mr Alesbury, an ex-maintenance worker at the Skydome, has a leaking heart valve.

He spent 11 days in Walsgrave Hospital in July last year when he had a "silent" heart attack.

After being referred to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, he said a doctor told him he might suffer a fatal heart attack at any time.

He was told he needed a defibrillator - a device designed to automatically kickstart his heart if it stopped unexpectedly.

He was referred back to Walsgrave for investigations into his leaking valve and then re-referred back to Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

But he says the correspondence was so slow between the two hospitals, it meant that more than 12 months later, he's still waiting to be treated.

Mr Alesbury said: "When I was in hospital, doctors checked my blood pressure six times a day. Since I have come out of hospital, I have only had it checked twice.

"My condition was getting worse and worse, so in the end I bought myself a blood pressure monitor to check it myself."

He added: "When I asked what had happened at Walsgrave and why there was a delay, I was told that there was no one available to type up the doctor's notes to send on to the Queen Elizabeth.

"It meant there was a delay of more than three months. That is just not right."

Mr Alesbury, who lives with wife, Jovelinda, aged 28, and her two children, Jomar, aged eight, and Charlinda, aged nine, said he could barely walk without getting out of breath.

Stephen's daughters, Sarah Cousins, aged 30, of Charles Street, New Arley, and Claire Alesbury, aged 27, of Alandale Avenue, Eastern Green, Coventry, are fed up with chasing appointments time and time again.

Mrs Cousins said: "We're not experts in the medical profession but we are extremely upset and distressed that our father has received no treatment for 12 months.

"We were told he could drop down dead at any moment. His quality of life is deteriorating on a daily basis and after being such an active man all of his life, it's heartbreaking to watch him suffer."

Hospital says sorry for delay MARTIN LEE, medical director at Walsgrave Hospital, said Mr Alesbury had been assessed for a replacement heart valve operation but doctors decided it was not suitable at the time.

He said: "A heart valve replacement and implantation of a defibrillator are major operations that carry a significant risk.

"It is therefore necessary for patients to undergo a number of tests and consultations between doctors before a decision about which is the best care for the patient can be made."

Mr Lee said Mr Alesbury would benefit from another procedure called implantation of an automatic cardiac defibrillator.

He added: "He has been accepted for this treatment by Dr Howard Marshall at the University Hospital Birmingham.

"Mr Alesbury will continue to attend our hospital for some of his follow up heart care."

A letter has been sent to the family by Walsgrave Hospital complaints manager, Sharon Wyman, apologising for the delay and any stress it had caused.

CAPTION(S):

D27988_1. DESPERATE... Stephen Alesbury reckons delays and red tape are standing in the way of his vital heart operation. He and his daughters, Sarah Cousins (left) and Claire Alesbury (right) have now reached the end of their tether
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Sep 21, 2005
Words:602
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