FORMER Mayo footballer Billy Fitzpatrick has warned people not to be afraid to go to hospital — after he suffered a heart scare during lockdown.
Billy, the oldest player to play an All-Ireland semi-final in Croke Park, was struck down with severe chest pains on Easter Sunday.
Despite the pandemic lockdown, he went to hospital, and is glad he did.
He said: “There was never any history of heart problems in my family.
“I always said if I was able to play in Croke Park at 41, there’s nothing wrong with my heart. But that’s not the way life goes.”
Billy was preparing to go for a walk on Easter Sunday when he suffered a “very sharp pain” in the top of his chest.
A neighbour who is a nurse checked his blood pressure and told him to call an ambulance.
He explained: “At the time, I thought this was my heart, I could die from this.
“I wasn’t going to die of Covid at that moment, it was my heart that was important and I wanted to look after it so I had to go.”
NO HEART DAMAGE
The Claremorris man, 75, was brought to hospital in Castlebar before being transferred to Dublin’s Mater.
Billy said he was so well cared for that the prospect of contracting Covid didn’t enter his mind.
He was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, or an irregular heartbeat, which can increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke.
Thankfully, with medication he was able to avoid any long-term consequences. And he attributes this to his decision to seek swift medical attention.
He explained: “I don’t have any heart damage at all which is great, but if you wait too long to be seen, you’ll have heart damage that will stay with you for the rest of your life.”
However many have delayed seeking help during the lockdown, with the number of cardiac patients presenting to hospitals falling by up to 80 per cent.
Ryanair plane from UK ‘seconds away’ from hitting ground with 166 people on board
Heartbroken brother of Colm Horkan says family will live ‘lifetime of sorrow’
Tik Tok star’s final videos show her smiling and dancing hours before suicide
Six more die of coronavirus in Ireland as CMO issues alert over 23 new cases
Taxi driver suspected of killing wife at Dublin home ‘tried to take own life’
That’s despite the fact that the risk of cardiac death is ten times higher than death from Covid-19.
Medical experts believe an estimated 9,000 urgent cardiac procedures were not carried out across Ireland when compared to the pre-Covid-19 norm.
As part of The Global Heart Hub, heart and stroke charity Croi is urging patients with symptoms of heart or stroke emergency to #Justgo and seek medical help without delay.