In 2015, a personal tragedy catalysed our mission. Tim Fleming, experienced sudden and severe pain — classic symptoms of aortic dissection. Unfortunately, multiple visits to the emergency department did not detect it. This oversight cost Tim his life, underscoring a critical gap in medical procedures that we aim to rectify.
Petition for Change
The petition was started emphasising four primary reforms:
1. Policy Implementation
Establishing rigorous guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of aortic dissection. Hospitals and emergency medical services should have a unified protocol, to ensure swift identification and treatment. By having a well-defined policy, the ambiguity surrounding the condition can be reduced, and medical practitioners can act decisively during these crucial moments.
2. Diagnostic Protocols
Once a heart attack is ruled out, the next logical step should be to routinely check for aortic dissection. This systematic approach ensures that aortic disease is always in the differential diagnosis, ensuring that medical practitioners always consider it. This would significantly reduce the chances of a missed diagnosis and lead to better patient outcomes.
3. Educational Initiatives
Information is power. Continuous education and training for medical professionals, tailored to this specific condition, are vital. By instilling a deeper understanding and appreciation of AD’s nuances, doctors, nurses, and emergency personnel can approach suspected cases with informed confidence, ensuring a consistent best-practice approach.
4. Streamlined Processes
The emergency cardiac and vascular surgical services need a cohesive strategy. When patients are diagnosed with aortic dissection, they should invariably be under the care of surgeons who have the required experience and expertise. This restructuring ensures optimal patient care and increases the chances of successful surgical outcomes.
Amplifying Voices: The Power and Impact of Petitions
Starting this petition stands as a testament to the strength of our collective voices and the aspiration for change within the aortic patient & family community. Fundamentally, this petition is more than merely a collection of signatures; it embodies a communal vision and clear call to action: highlighting a need for change that has for too long gone ignored or misunderstood. By spotlighting these issues, a wider proportion of the population have become aware, promoting broader public involvement and influencing the decisions of those in authority.
This petition marked the start of our extensive advocacy for aortic disease, our community mobilisation, public discussions, and planned revisions at policy level.
Calling Upon Authority: Petitioning the Department of Health and the Irish Health Ministry
In a concerted effort to bring about tangible change, the petition directly addresses both the Department of Health in the UK and the Irish Health Ministry. The petition underscores the urgency of their involvement in the dialogue surrounding the four pillars of reform.
The petition’s primary goal was to prompt these decision-makers to not merely acknowledge the pressing concerns voiced by the public but to actively open a comprehensive debate around them.
From Signatures to Action: Catalysing Parliamentary Debate
Having amassed a significant number of signatures, exceeding 10,000, the petition has now succeeded in catalysing notable governmental attention. Such a robust show of public support has not only underscored the urgency and importance of the issue at hand but has directly led to its debate within the UK Parliament. Furthermore, this groundswell of advocacy has secured a crucial meeting with the Department of Health, providing an invaluable opportunity to directly address and discuss the concerns and potential solutions. This milestone demonstrates the power of collective voices in driving forward change and ensuring that these pressing issues are acknowledged and acted upon at the highest levels of government.