A 101-YEAR-old woman was stuck on a hospital emergency department trolley for 25 hours in an ordeal described as "inhumane, deplorable and disgraceful".
It was the second time in a week that a patient over the age of 100 has been left on a trolley in an Irish hospital for more than a day.
The latest case, which involved a Co Clare woman who was attending University Hospital Limerick (UHL), was raised by the woman's granddaughter on social media.
The woman waited 25 hours on a trolley before getting a bed late on Thursday.
Her granddaughter said she "was left fasting for most of a day for a scope that was not going to happen that day at all and was rescheduled".
Mary Fogarty of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) was angered by the case.
"What happened to this 101-year-old woman is inhumane," she said.
"It is a catastrophic situation where the oldest person in the hospital is left to languish on a trolley for all of that time. How was this allowed to happen?"
Ms Fogarty said INMO members raised the plight of the woman with her last week.
The HSE blamed "an unexpected increase in patients presenting over the last week" for the incident.
"UL Hospitals Group apologises that any patient has to wait to be admitted. Delivery of the best possible care for the patient is our priority from the moment of presentation," a spokesperson said.
The HSE said it is transferring patients to other hospitals in a bid to "reduce numbers and wait times" among other measures.
"These actions have resulted in a significant reduction in patients waiting in the ED, but numbers still remain above what we would like," the spokesperson said.
This "has resulted in high numbers of patients waiting on trolleys and long delays."
The 101-year-old woman's granddaughter said her grandmother "is doing quite well now, thankfully, and may get to move back to Ennis Hospital soon and hopefully home".
Management at Tallaght Hospital apologised last week to 102-year-old Rose O'Halloran after she spent 26 hours on a trolley in its emergency department.
"This patient's wait was unacceptable and we're working on our processes to ensure that such patients get through our systems quicker," said the hospital's deputy chief executive Sarah McMickan.