herald

Monday 5 December 2016

Relative of woman (93) who had 29-hour wait on trolley: 'The set-up is a shambles, there’s no dignity'

Michael Rice (34), from Ballindangan, Mitchelstown, Co Cork, bled to death after cutting his arm in the horror accident during the early hours of Monday morning
Michael Rice (34), from Ballindangan, Mitchelstown, Co Cork, bled to death after cutting his arm in the horror accident during the early hours of Monday morning

A 93-year-old woman was left waiting for 29-hours on a trolley in Beaumont Hospital, in conditions that were described as “mayhem”.

The woman’s ordeal yesterday comes to light less than a week after it was revealed that a 91-year-old man endured a similar wait on a trolley in Tallaght Hospital, Dublin.

Michelle Cleary told RTE’s Morning Ireland this morning how her grand-aunt, Esther Tiernan, became “very agitated and fed up” during the lengthy wait for a bed – from 3pm last Wednesday until 8pm yesterday.

The Dublin woman said she would be more confident going to a veterinary surgeon.

“Our elderly and our children are being treated terribly. When you do get in, it’s an absolute disgrace,” she said. “I would have more confidence going down to the vet with my dog because I would get immediate treatment, I’d get X-rays.

“Basically, I’d have more confidence in my vet now than I would in the hospital services.”

Ms Cleary said staff had been  aware that her grand-aunt had pressure sores, and was uncomfortable on the trolley. The elderly woman had already been in Beaumont on October 21, and Ms Cleary described the night as “absolute mayhem”.

“She was in pain the whole time on the trolley,” she said. “The set-up is a shambles, there’s no dignity. I just felt nobody cares, you were just told to wait.”

In a statement to Morning Ireland, the hospital said 33 of its beds are not available due to refurbishment. It regretted the difficult conditions experienced by patients and staff.

The latest story of lengthy hospital waits comes as concerned Tallaght Hospital emergency consultant Dr James Gray alerted Health Minister Leo Varadkar to the incidents of waiting patients in a memo.

There was widespread condemnation about the matter when it emerged in the media.

Dr Gray was accused by Mr Varadkar of ‘misrepresenting’  the patient’s experience, and Tallaght Hospital said there would be an inquiry about how the information on the case came into the public domain.

However, Dr Gray stood by his claims and said that he had a duty as a whistleblower.

“There is no confidentiality issue here as there were never any names mentioned. As a patient advocate, I am not concerned about any investigation and I will not be silenced or intimidated,” he said.

 

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