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Tattyreagh comedian says stroke unit threat is no joke

A LOCAL comedian, who has written a new show about suffering two small strokes, has given his backing to the battle to save the South West Acute Hospital (SWAH) stroke unit.

Terry McHugh from Tattyreagh had his first TIA (mini stroke) two years ago.

Despite having “a fair idea” what had just happened him, he didn’t go the doctor right away.

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When Terry later went to his GP in Omagh, the doctor sent him straight to SWAH. 

“They were brilliant,” said the 39-year-old.

“When I went up I was taken straight in, no messing about. All the nurses I dealt with were brilliant, the specialist guy was amazing.”

Terry takes little in life seriously, and after his first mini-stroke he had been lackadaisical about taking his medication and slowing down his lifestyle.

When he took his second TIA, just a few months later in April 2018, he went straight to the unit, where he got a rude awakening about how lucky he had been.

“They told me I was going up to Ward 2 and I was thinking, I can’t go up to Ward 2, I’ve a gig on Thursday,” he said.

“Being wheeled into the ward I was looking at people going through rehab and so on. I looked like there was nothing wrong with me.”

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It was then that Terry, who has a young family, had a conversation with a SWAH stroke nurse that gave him a wake up call.

“She said you’ll not get a third chance at this, another one could kill you, and she told me to sort myself out. That really brings it home to you,” he said.

Terry said he had little doubt if the unit “just down the road” was closed lives would be at risk.

“If they take that one away from Enniskillen then half the country will basically be more than an hour away from a stroke unit,” he said.

“This is all going on when you have MLAs sitting there, and I don’t care what anyone says, they’re doing nothing. They’re not doing their job and their taking their wages, meanwhile life and death decisions are being made.”

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