Hundreds are left without beds as hospitals struggling to cope
Dublin hospitals were flooded with patients yesterday in the aftermath of the snow storm - forcing scores to endure gruelling delays on trolleys.
Tallaght Hospital, Connolly Hospital and the Mater Hospital were among the worst hit by overcrowding, as patients housebound during the extreme weather could wait no longer for medical care.
Across the country, there were 664 waiting on trolleys - a near-record high.
Maura Healy, from Cabra, said her husband, James (63) - who has multiple sclerosis - had been waiting on a trolley in the Mater Hospital since Sunday.
He still did not have a bed by yesterday afternoon.
"The ambulance was very quick, they were brilliant. The paramedics stayed with us for an hour in the A&E," said Maura.
"But he has been on a trolley overnight, and he's now on a trolley in a little room in A&E.
"The staff are great, but they're overworked, and there's not enough of them.
"James had a multiple sclerosis attack. He couldn't walk, so we had to call the ambulance, but he's very tired today because he's been awake all night. He was in a corridor on the trolley, so there was bright light and a lot of noise all the time, so it's hard to sleep."
However, Maura had praise for the staff looking after James.
"The nurses are great and they kept his spirits up," she added.
Another patient, Anthony Bradley (58) told how he was forced to endure three nights on a trolley after breaking his foot and fracturing an ankle.
The caretaker injured himself after falling awkwardly on the pavement before being admitted to the Mater Hospital three weeks ago.
Yesterday, the Dublin man was still waiting to be transferred for rehabilitation.
"I was on a trolley for three nights when I was first admitted and then I waited for more than a week for surgery," Mr Bradley said.
"Where I am, it's mostly a day ward, and I've seen people coming and going.
"It's a pity, but there's not enough nurses. The Government need to make sure there's more staff, as the staff that are here are doing a great job but there's just not enough of them.
"The Government needs to take the pressure off the staff."
Meanwhile, Stephanie Ward, (31), of Mulhuddart, Blanchardstown, was visiting her father, Stephen Carroll (52) at Connolly Hospital.
"We phoned an ambulance on Sunday at 12.45pm and by 3pm, we were still waiting for it to arrive," she said.
"By this stage, dad was in excruciating pain, complaining his stomach would explode.
"I came in from my house where there was still quite a bit of snow but the main roads were clear.
"I put dad into the car and took him in. But A&E was out of the door. Around 150 people were waiting on chairs.
"Dad was left on a chair for the night and moved to a room on Monday morning.
"Elderly women and men were left on chairs, hooked to drips - it's a disgrace."