Heart man told ?stop smoking or stay away

A TYNDALE man with a potentially deadly heart condition who was refused a consultation by a cardiologist because of his refusal to quit smoking is still waiting for an angiogram four months after being diagnosed.

A fortnight ago John Boakes was advised by Brisbane-based cardiologist Dr John Hill over the phone that he would not be given an appointment for the angiogram because he refused to quit smoking.

Last Friday the 67-year-old received a letter from Dr Hill on behalf of the Princess Alexandra Hospital's cardiology department explaining why he had been passed over.

"It was agreed that Mr Boakes would be referred for outpatient angiography here on the understanding that he would cease cigarette smoking," Dr Hill's letter said.

"On May 17, 2005, I telephoned Mr Boakes.

"During that conversation he indicated he had resumed smoking.

" ... I suggested to Mr Boakes that cessation of smoking was, in my opinion, the most important part of his cardiac management.

"I also indicated that continued smoking would mitigate any potential benefit from invasive coronary investigations, so I did not invite him for coronary angiography."

Mr Boakes denied making a promise to quit smoking and continues to assert he had told the doctor that he would re- main a smoker.

Dr Hill was not available for comment in Brisbane yesterday.

Mr Boakes' story has prompted a number of Clarence Valley residents to voice their opinion on the matter in The Daily Examiner's letters pages.

Glenreagh resident John Gwynne faced heart bypass surgery 21 years ago and, like Mr Boakes, was told doctors would not assist if he did not give up smoking.

He was 40 years of age and smoked 60 cigarettes daily.

Mr Gwynne followed the ad- vice and is glad he did.

n What do you think?

Phone the Star Feedback line on 6624 3266 or email opin- ions@northernstar.com.au

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