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Heart condition man thanks Evening Star

PUBLISHED: 15:37 19 October 2001 | UPDATED: 10:41 03 March 2010

A FELIXSTOWE pensioner is celebrating today after he was offered special treatment for a heart condition - thanks to the Evening Star.

Pensioner Peter Harness was left fuming after a consultant at Ipswich Hospital told him he would have to remain on daily medication for the rest of his life - despite the availability of an alternative treatment - and blamed the decision on a prejudice against his age.

A FELIXSTOWE pensioner is celebrating today after he was offered special treatment for a heart condition – thanks to the Evening Star.

Pensioner Peter Harness was left fuming after a consultant at Ipswich Hospital told him he would have to remain on daily medication for the rest of his life – despite the availability of an alternative treatment – and blamed the decision on a prejudice against his age.

The 75-year-old of King Street, Walton, had feared he could not have the treatment simply because of his age.

Mr Harness, a retired Ipswich Borough Council worker, had his hopes set on the special electronic treatment which would have dealt with a timing problem connected to his heart, and cut out the need for medication for good.

But after a call from the Evening Star medical staff review his case notes and decided to offer him the treatment.

A spokeswoman for the hospital said: "It was not a case that he was too old it was that research has shown the treatment is less safe and effective for older people.

"When we were alerted to Mr Harness's concerns a urgent review was carried out and a decision was made to offer him this treatment."

Mr Harness, who lives with his wife Jean, said that he had been suffering occasional black-outs without warning over the past few years.

"On the last occasion, I came into the kitchen and just felt dizzy and everything was going and I got down on to the floor to stop myself falling over and injuring myself on a cupboard or something."

"It's amazing what a call to the Evening Star can do. The hospital rung just after the photographer had left my house," he said adding that he was told to wait for a letter from the hospital that would give an appointment date and explanation.

A spokeswoman for Ipswich Hospital denied claims that the trust was not 'ageist' and said that the decision was made with the patients' best interests at heart.

"It is the trust's policy to treat people on the basis of clinical need irrespective of age, gender, culture or colour," she said.

"Each clinician advises their patient on the basis of their individual condition. In this case it was believed the treatment may not have been the most effective course of action but if Mr Harness is aware of the arguments and has strong feelings on the matter then we would be happy to offer him the treatment he wants."

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