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Crisis in A&E: Heart dad spent 28 hours on a chair as dementia patient screamed all night

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Patients await in Beaumount

Patients await in Beaumount

Patient Stephen O'Neill pictured at The Beaumount Hospital A&E

Patient Stephen O'Neill pictured at The Beaumount Hospital A&E

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Patients await in Beaumount

THESE are the impossible conditions for patients waiting on chairs and trolleys in Beaumont's emergency department yesterday.

Patients spent many hours on hard chairs and on trolleys as hard-working staff tended to them as best they could in overcrowded conditions.

Stephen O'Neill from Balrothery (34) first came to the emergency department on Monday morning and was still there 28 hours later.

He first arrived at the hospital at 10.30am and although he was checked in, he remained waiting in the emergency department for a bed.

"I have an irregular heart beat," he explained.

"I was checked in fairly sharpish. Because of the situation, I was called in straight away and they put me on an ECG and x-ray.

"The nurses are absolutely fantastic. They are going out of their way for everyone. I am watching it all night. I think they should protest over their conditions."

Stephen, who has two children, Stephen (13) and Dylan (5) and is self-employed spent the day and the night on a chair. He said it was particularly distressing for elderly people.

"There is one woman in there suffering from dementia and she was screaming and shouting at 4am this morning, and I just didn't sleep at all.

"It is just too noisy in there to sleep. It is just chaos," he said.

"It's a big square room with the nurses' station, and chairs all around the nurses' station and each cubicle has a bed in it, and on the outskirts there are trolleys. I was in the middle of the room. I am tired and it is very uncomfortable."

Stephen said he has only been to the emergency department twice, but attends the outpatients clinic every year.

"I would love to see Leo Varadkar come in here and sit down for the night," he said. "There is so much that can be done."

Donna Whitehouse (24) from Balbriggan who was with her mum Philomena (52) said it was a disgrace.

"As you go through the doors, you can't move. There are trolleys, wheelchairs, people laid out in front of you," she said.

"(My mum) came in at 7pm on Monday evening with pains in her chest, and short of breath. She had pneumonia a couple of weeks ago, so we thought it was back, but they have ruled that out."

Philomena had been sitting on the same chair overnight. She was admitted on Monday afternoon, and was waiting for a bed 20 hours after arrival, her daughter said.

"She is just exhausted. She has been given morphine," Donna said. "She is sitting on a chair, and she keeps saying 'I can't do it any more'.

"She just needs a bed to get half an hour's sleep. The staff are rushed off their feet."

Rita Gannon (55) from Balgriffin said her 84-year-old mother-in-law Monica from Artane was on a trolley in a cubicle.

Monica attended the emergency department at 3pm on Monday afternoon, and was still there 24 hours later, Rita said staff were "treating her really, really well."

fdillon@herald.ie