Wednesday 23 January 2019

'My baby son was left to wait 24 hours on trolley' - distraught dad hits out

Temple Street Hospital, where 14 children had to wait on trolleys while doctors battled a spike in winter-related illness
Temple Street Hospital, where 14 children had to wait on trolleys while doctors battled a spike in winter-related illness

A Dublin dad has told how his sick newborn baby was left waiting nearly 24 hours to be admitted to a ward at Temple Street Children's Hospital.

The four-week-old boy was weak from a viral respiratory infection that he had been fighting all week, his father told the Herald.

Speaking outside Temple Street's emergency department, he said the family arrived at the hospital with their son at 4.30pm on Wednesday.

But it was not until yesterday afternoon that the boy was admitted to a ward.

"It's chaos in there. Chaos," said the worried dad, who did not wish to be named.


He said that his wife had not slept since Wednesday because she had maintained an overnight vigil on a chair beside their sick son.

"She is delirious. She hasn't slept in 48 hours," he said.

"Our son is in a cot, and my wife has been awake on a chair beside him."

The worried father said he had to leave his wife alone at the hospital because he had to go home to look after their other child.

"The problem is there are no free beds in the hospital," he said.

"There was nowhere for our son to go. I have full medical cover, but it didn't make any difference.

"Our son has a chest infection, but he is so young they can't really give him anything.

"Because he is newborn, the medics are being cautious.

"They were feeding him through the nose, but now he is starting to breastfeed again."

The Dubliner said medics told him his son would have to remain in the hospital for the next few days while he fights the infection.

He said his baby was seen quickly and X-rayed when the family brought him in, but there was no ward for him to go to.

"There are other babies in there. There are other kids waiting for beds," he said.

"Basically, we had to wait for a patient to leave."

The hospital said it does not comment on individual cases.

However, it issued a statement stating that it was "especially busy", and that there were a number of children in its emeregency department who were waiting for inpatient beds.

Given the time of year, the emergency department is seeing an increase in patient numbers, particularly very young children - under five years of age - and babies, with gastrointestinal and respiratory infections, the statement said.

It apologised to families who may have to wait longer than usual for their children to be admitted and to families whose children may have their scheduled surgery postponed at short notice.

The hospital said it was making every effort to improve the situation.

It has stressed that if a child is seriously ill or injured, or a parent is worried that their child's life may be at risk, they should attend the hospital and "we will assess and treat your child as a priority.".

Eighteen children were left waiting on hospital trolleys for beds yesterday as doctors treated a spike in winter-related illness.

The worst hit was in Temple Street Hospital where 14 children had to wait on trolleys.

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