Mum's stress at 14-month heart scan delay
A mum-of-five waited 14 months for a scan to find out whether she has a heart condition that could cause sudden cardiac death.
Amanda Megaw-Ranaghan was referred to cardiology by her GP in April 2018 to investigate whether she has hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM).
She attended a hospital appointment three months later, in July last year, and only had the ultrasound scan two weeks ago.
Mrs Megaw-Ranaghan, who lives outside Cloughmills, Co Antrim, is currently waiting to find out whether she has the hereditary condition, which causes the muscle wall of the heart to become thickened.
The waiting times for diagnostic tests across Northern Ireland are spiralling out of control as there is no health minister in place to make crucial decisions over budgets, workforce planning and reform of the NHS.
Ms Megaw-Ranaghan (41) said: "It's been a very worrying time and I am also angry that it took so long to get the scan.
"I have five children and if I have the condition they will also be tested and I have no idea how long that could take. It could be another couple of years.
"I first went to the doctor after my dad was diagnosed with HCM and we were told that it's inherited. There aren't really any symptoms, so I have no idea whether I have it or not."
HCM is a genetic condition caused by a change or mutation in one or more genes and children of someone with HCM have a 50% chance of inheriting it.
"I worry more about my children than I do about myself," she said. "They are getting older and this condition that I may have is linked to sudden death in people of all ages but is most common in younger people.
"You hear about sudden cardiac death and how it is connected to young people doing sport, so I worry a lot about my daughter who is really getting into hockey at school. I'm terrified that something might happen."
Mrs Megaw-Ranaghan is also experiencing a lengthy wait to find out whether one of her sons, Samuel, has autism..
"It's little children who are being put at risk because we don't have an Assembly and it's not good enough," she added.