Brave Dublin granny battling cancer is left for five days in wrong ward at Tallaght Hospital
A Dublin grandmother suffering from cancer of the liver, bowel and lungs had to wait five days in Tallaght Hospital to get onto the proper ward for treatment.
Carol Wright (54) and her family say they were "hitting a brick wall" when it came to getting the specialist care she needs.
"Carol was in an Acute Surgical Assessment Unit which is basically an overflow ward from the accident and emergency ward, and the staff there are not oncology trained," claimed Carol's husband Gerry.
"It's not the fault of the staff in the unit, because they are working in a different area of care than oncology.
"They needed our help to deal with drains from Carol's liver and things. They were relying on us for information.
"I didn't sleep at all on Sunday night with the worry," he added.
Carol, from nearby DeSelby in Tallaght, was first diagnosed with cancer three-and-a-half years ago and has been in and out of Tallaght Hospital for treatment ever since.
"The staff here are nearly in tears with the situation. They say she is a critical patient and needs to be in a ward, not a place for breaks and sprains," said Gerry.
Desperate to highlight the deficiencies in the health service, Carol and Gerry decided to go public and speak of their own difficulties.
They contacted the Herald yesterday, and Carol was finally given a bed in a surgical ward yesterday afternoon.
Carol was on intravenous chemotherapy until June but is now on an oral version of the life-saving, but harsh, treatment.
"She never drank or smoked, and she's a fighter with great spirit, but Carol is down to six stone now," said Gerry.
"The cancer is in her liver, lungs and bowel and she has a stoma back and drains that need to be dealt with, as well as the chemotherapy and pain management. It's getting harder and harder.
"When she was in here in August she was on this ward for 10 days. Then she was back and there was still no move to a proper ward until today.
"The whole system is crazy. The bed management people said they were trying to get Carol onto a ward and that she was a priority."
"They said that where Carol was is a ward - but it is not," he added yesterday evening.
"It is not a place where Carol could get the care she needs."
Tallaght Hospital said it could not comment on individual cases for reasons of patient confidentiality.
But in a statement to the Herald, they said that they regretted the delay in allocating a speciality bed.
"The hospital is aware of a delay in allocating a speciality surgical ward bed to a patient who was in an in-patient bed in the Acute Surgical Assessment Unit. The patient was provided with all appropriate care and specialist surgical staff were on hand to attend to them," a spokesman said.
"Tallaght Hospital regrets this delay. The Hospital continues to manage a challenging situation by implementing a response plan to deal with the pressures arising from seasonally high admittances and attendances.
"This includes a number of initiatives to improve patient flow processes through providing more in-patient beds funded under the HSE winter initiative and completing the €5 million upgrade of the Emergency Department."
In a statement last night after Carol was allocated a bed in a surgical ward, the Wright family said that over the course of her treatment, they had seen, first hand, the effects of cutbacks in oncology.
"We wish to stress that at no time have we encountered any difficulties with frontline staff. Our recent experiences show that patient welfare is in jeopardy," they added.