MANAGEMENT at Tallaght Hospital have apologised to a 102-year-old Dublin woman who spent 26 hours on a trolley in its emergency department.
Rose O'Halloran suffered distressing conditions in Tallaght Hospital, which were described as a form of "torture" by a leading doctor.
She is now recovering at home in Clondalkin where hospital chiefs visited her and made the apology.
Rose, who has arthritis and high blood pressure, didn't feel well on Monday and her daughter Marie called an ambulance.
She spent more than a day on a trolley because there was no free bed in the wards.
"This vulnerable old lady was subjected to a great indignity," Tallaght emergency consultant Dr James Gray said.
"There was constant light and noise, so very little sleep was possible. It is a form of torture. She was hooked up to blood transfusion drip," he added.
Tallaght Hospital A&E was the subject of a damning Hiqa investigation in 2010, prompting a €5.5m upgrade. But some new areas remain idle, including the Rapid Assessment Treatment Unit due to lack of staff.
A €70m plan to ease overcrowding at hospitals was announced in April, but the number of patients on trolleys remains high.
Hospital management later made a public apology to Rose.
"On behalf of the hospital I would like to apologise to this patient and her family for the unacceptable delay she expected," said deputy chief executive Sarah McMickan.
"This patient's wait was unacceptable … and we're working on our processes to ensure that such patients get through our systems quicker," she said.
Rose, whose husband William died 50 years ago, enjoys an independent life and still goes shopping with her devoted family, who include daughters Marie and Irene and son John. Her daughter Caroline died a decade ago.
She spent many years doing painstaking work for an embroidery agency before working in the canteen in the former Glen Abbey clothing manufacturer. Rose's son Liam said his mother's next battle with the health service will be to get a chair-lift installed in her home.
"I asked about a chair-lift but was told she would have to be assessed by an occupational therapist. You just have to look at her. Her sight is very poor and she could fall down the stairs," he said.
Liam spoke of how proud they are of Rose's lively spirit.
"She is rather deaf and likely to misinterpret you. She is as bright as a button but refuses to wear a hearing aid. She hears what she wants to hear," he added.