Buncrana man Martin Gill says he’s had enough - today he is going on hunger strike outside Letterkenny General Hospital unless someone will tell him what is wrong with him. In just over three years the right hand side of his body has ‘gone’, his weight has plummeted to a little over 10 stone and he says he is suicidal.
“This is the last throw of the dice’, he told the Journal yesterday, claiming his condition is visibly worsening but he’s being passed around the medical profession, as he describes it, ‘like snuff at a wake.’
He commented: “I was an alcoholic but I have been sober for five years - but this is doing my head in. My body has totally twisted to the right. My head and arms are now twisted, my leg has shortened, there is twisting of the pelvis.”
Claiming that he was living through a ‘bureaucratic nightmare’ Mr. Gill said it would take weeks to tell his story.
“I have had 30 letters of referral to various doctors and hospitals. Once I waited 8 months to go to this specialist and then when I got there I was told I was with the wrong doctor.
“About two years ago I got a heart attack and got a stint put in. When I went up they asked me to run on a treadmill. I told them they had to be kidding. I was in awful pain; I couldn’t do it.”
He went on: “Some time back I went to the A&E department in Letterkenny General and after waiting nearly four hours I saw a doctor. She said I need to go see a physiotherapist. I then went to see a physio who told me that he couldn’t do anything for me unless I had gone to see a consultant who would refer me to him (the physio). It’s classic Catch-22.”
He said unless his own eyes are deceiving him, he is in in serious difficulties.
“My weight has dropped by more than two stones -I’m down from 12-7lbs to just over 10st. And it’s going down steadily. I have a constant twitch on my right hand side. When people, friends of mine, stop in the street to talk to me the first thing they ask me is what is happening to me.
“How do you explain to people that you have been ill for three years but have had no diagnosis.”
He concluded: “This is not some spur of the moment stunt. I have had enough. This has been going on for more than three years and my life is a misery. I have lost my employment because of the pain; I used to have a barber’s shop but I can’t stand for long now. I’m on the dole and surviving hand to mouth.
“I feel my life has been discarded. I am suicidal.”