herald

Saturday 17 November 2018

'My dad's 10 hours in A&E with broken arm and just two Nurofen'

Katherine and her dad Gerard McKenna, who was hospitalised after a ‘traumatic’ accident
Katherine and her dad Gerard McKenna, who was hospitalised after a ‘traumatic’ accident

The daughter of a 65-year-old man who was hospitalised after a "traumatic" accident has told of her father's ordeal when he spent almost 10 hours in an Emergency Department waiting room.

Gerard McKenna then slept on a trolley overnight and was given just two painkillers over 24 hours.

On November 9, Mr McKenna, from Tallaght, Dublin, had an accident in the yard of the garage where he works. He fell from his truck and broke his arm in two places, causing significant damage to his shoulder.

His daughter, Katherine, said that the nurses who cared for Mr McKenna in Tallaght Hospital are "angels" but she believes they are under too much pressure and the system is at breaking point.

Swollen

"We went in at 10pm on the Thursday night and he didn't get seen for an X-ray until 8.30am on Friday morning. By that stage his arm was so swollen and painful," Katherine told the Herald.

"He had been left in the A&E department overnight and it's so uncomfortable, there's no food and he was in pain.

"The most concerning thing was when we got the X-ray done they only checked one part of his arm and they thought it was just a crack in the arm.

"Initially they were going to manipulate the arm and they had the oxygen and gas ready to go but one of the nurses stopped it and suggested that they get another X-ray done.

"They found there were a couple of broken parts and there was no way they could have manipulated the bone back into place - it needed an operation, there was a lot more work that needed to be done than they initially realised."

Mr McKenna had to wait another 24 hours for surgery as there was no bed available, so he was kept overnight on a trolley in the ED corridor.

When he finally was taken for his procedure on the Saturday afternoon, Katherine said another issue was flagged.

"When he eventually got to surgery, they realised an ECG was never done to check his heart, which should have been carried out at an early stage," she added.

Katherine also said she feels her father's ordeal was made worse by a lack of pain relief.

"He was initially given two Nurofen when he first went in on Thursday but he wasn't given any more pain relief until he got on to the ward 24 hours later," she said. "It just seems like every step of the way there were problems.

Taxes

"My dad is a man who has worked all of his life. He's paid his fair share of taxes in this country, he has very rarely ever needed help from the health system in this country, so for him to be left like that is so frustrating. The accident was a traumatic enough experience for him."

Both Gerard and Katherine have stressed that the frontline staff they met were "lovely" but they feel they were put under too much pressure.

"He really wants to thank the nurses. They were really, really lovely but they just don't have enough staff or beds or resources," Katherine said.

"It's really disheartening and you really do feel for them."

Mr McKenna returned home on the day after his operation and Katherine said that the experience opened her eyes to the ongoing crisis within the health system.

A spokesman for Tallaght Hospital said it "cannot comment on individual patient cases, however we apologise to any patient who has had a negative experience during treatment at the hospital".

"We would also urge them to engage with the hospital's patient advocacy co-ordinator about their experience as feedback is very important in helping to improve our services."

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