A DISTRAUGHT wife has pleaded “what price a human life” after NHS chiefs refused to fund her husband’s heart operation.
The long-running saga came to a shattering end in a letter from NHS Hertfordshire, which revealed a panel of experts had turned down cash to treat Hayden O’Mahoney for an aortic aneurism, on appeal.
Mr O’Mahoney, 73, and wife Janet, of Archers Ride, WGC, had taken their fight for funding a new procedure – called a fenestrated EVAR (Endovascular Aneurysm Repair) to MP Grant Shapps, who secured the appeal for Mr O’Mahoney.
After it was confirmed by letter that health chiefs had refused to stump up the cash, Mrs O’Mahoney wrote to Mr Shapps to express her outrage at the decision.
She wrote: “I don’t think you or the PCT can begin to imagine what it is like for my husband and I, and our family knowing that he is living with a timebomb that could burst at any time.”
The letter, sent from NHS Hertfordshire on May 11, stated the medical procedure the O’Mahoneys were pinning their hopes on is “low priority and so not normally commissioned”.
Mr O’Mahoney told the WHT: “I couldn’t believe that letter – I’m not a priority.
“I’m not top of their list, but I’m top of mine.”
And his wife questioned the health service’s priorities.
“They are going to offer women over 40 the chance of IVF treatment.
“They will also operate on women who have had breast implants done privately, that have gone wrong, but they won’t fund an operation that will save his life”, she said.
Mr Shapps said: “When the family approached me I was concerned and immediately took it up with the NHS, which led to the independent appeal, which seemed to provide a glimmer of hope.
“So it is desperately disappointing for the O’Mahoney family to hear the panel has reached this conclusion.”
A spokeswoman for NHS Hertfordshire said fenestrated EVARs were not “routinely offered on the NHS at the moment” and only performed in “exceptional circumstances” because “there is not sufficient evidence that the treatment is safe and both clinically effective and cost effective”.
She added: “We understand that it will be disappointing for patients when an application is turned down and we do our very best to ensure that we treat patients and their families with the utmost sensitivity throughout this process.”