Irene Semmler hopes to have her long-awaited bypass operation, after a heart attack 18 months ago.
Irene Semmler hopes to have her long-awaited bypass operation, after a heart attack 18 months ago.

Heart victim's plea to Premier



AFTER giving so much to the com- munity a Rockhampton woman is praying Premier Peter Beattie can be her saviour as she waits for a heart operation.

Mother of four and grandmother of five Irene Semmler has been waiting 18 months for a bypass operation after suffering a heart attack in April 2004.

Yesterday her plight went public when 4RO talkback radio host Jeff Goodwin interviewed her husband, Graham Semmler, on air before Mr Goodwin asked Mr Beattie to help them.

The Semmlers are well known in Rockhampton for their amaz- ing fundraising efforts with the Queensland Cancer Fund and Di- abetes Australia.

"If she were to have this by- pass operation, it would be the best Christmas present for the rest of my life,'' Mr Semmler said.

Late yesterday a spokesperson for Minister for Health Stephen Robertson, on behalf of Mr Beat- tie, said the chief of Prince Charles Hospital was talking to Mrs Semmler's surgeon about re- assessing her case.

"There are still significant health issues that need to be reas- sessed before any surgery can be safely done,'' he said.

But Mr Semmler, 58, repeated his call for the State Government to have a heart and help the love of his life.

Mr Semmler said medical spe- cialists had told him after her heart attack last year that his wife needed to lose weight before she could have the operation.

In the meantime, he said, she was also battling kidney prob- lems and diabetes.

"She's only using about 14% of her kidneys,'' Mr Semmler said.

"The Catch 22 is that Irene has to have the bypass before she can have a kidney transplant so in the meantime she has booked an appointment to have a fistula treated.

"We were even told by one of the specialists in Rockhampton that if she had another heart at- tack they would operate on her straight away.''

Mr Semmler said he was upset that nothing could be done. He said her father died from heart complications at the same age she had the heart attack.

"It scares me. "Who's going to say she's going to come through if she has anoth- er heart attack?'' he said.

"Our way of life has changed and it doesn't take long for Irene to get exhausted from doing things.

"There are times when she breaks down and cries and tells me 'I just want to be able to do more. I want to live long enough to see my grandkids grow up'.



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