herald

Friday 6 December 2019

Disabled girl (13) with a broken leg forced to endure 25 hours in a&e

Sophia Daly (13) with her mum Joan
Sophia Daly (13) with her mum Joan

A severely disabled 13-year-old girl and her family endured a 25-hour ordeal in the crowded A&E at Crumlin Hospital during which she was found to have a broken leg.

Sophia Daly, from Dublin, who suffers from cerebral palsy and other complications, was brought to the hospital by her concerned mother Joan at 7pm last Friday.

After being triaged she was returned to the packed waiting room, her father Aaron said yesterday.

"I went to the hospital at 11.45pm and at that stage a doctor still had not seen her," he said.

"She was sent for an X-ray at 12.30am and then placed in an overflow room.

Virus

"The hospital could not get a bed to fit her. At 6am she had another X-ray.

"The plaster room was also being used as a small clinic where other children were brought for plastering.

"We were told around 3pm that another child nearby had respiratory syncytial virus and we were very concerned because Sophia has a lowered immune system."

Sophia is a long-term patient of the hospital and her family had a 19-month battle, even protesting outside the Dail, before she had spinal surgery at the end of 2018.

She eventually got a bed at 8pm on Saturday.

"The staff were brilliant but when we were told we could leave we took it with both hands and left," Mr Daly said.

"The health system seems to be imploding."

Meanwhile, overcrowded A&Es are facing a "perfect storm" as rising numbers of patients seek emergency care and flu takes hold.

The HSE warned the level of flu circulating is increasing and already at levels normally seen later in the season while there continues to be a spike in respiratory illness among children.

The grim forecast comes in the wake of the personal expose of "unacceptable" A&E conditions endured by Fine Gael TD Kate O'Connell, who brought her child to the emergency unit in Crumlin Hospital over the weekend but left after eight hours without seeing a doctor.

She admitted she was embarrassed in case people recognised she was a TD and said it was shocking that a waiting room would have vomiting babies, breastfeeding mothers and children with head injuries and broken arms all in the one mix.

Senior HSE official John Ryan said yesterday that attendances at A&E departments across the country reached 26,396 in the last week, a rise of 1,600 over 2018.

The number of over-75s coming for emergency care has escalated by nearly 12pc but only half are either being discharged or admitted within the target time of nine hours.

Appointment

Dr Ciara Martin, a paediatric emergency consultant, said some of the children attending A&E units are being brought by parents who cannot get an appointment with a GP, with the number of children attending A&E up by 20pc.

"Temple Street Hospital normally sees 180 to 190 children in an average day and now they are seeing 250 to 260," Dr Martin said.

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