Visitor tells of horror at thieves taking toys from sick children
A MAN visiting his niece in a Dublin children's hospital said that his "stomach turned" when he heard about the "rampant thieving" that occurs there.
The man, who called himself Philip from Donegal, said he was visiting his niece in Our Lady's Children's Hospital Crumlin on Monday when he discovered that people steal all sorts of items from the wards.
The concerned businessman, who did not wish to give his real name, made an appeal on the Anton Savage show on Today FM for people to donate goods to the hospital.
He has decided to donate a TV for every bed in the 22-bed ward as only two are working at the minute due to remotes being stolen. Philip will also provide padlocks and wall brackets to secure the TVs to the wall.
"I think anyone who could steal from sick children are the lowest form of life on the planet," he told the Herald last night.
"It's just unthinkable.
"The staff in there are finding it is making their job more difficult."
Philip said that he was informed items such as air-conditioning units and even tea and coffee had been stolen.
"I just wanted to highlight the issue as something needs to change. It is time to think outside the box to stamp this out," he said.
"Sick children are the most vulnerable people in our society. I've been visiting there for years with my niece and it would bring tears to a stone.
"To then hear everything that had been going on made me feel physically sick. I can't believe we live in a society with an element like that."
When his niece was moved from the ICU to the ward this week her room had a TV, but was told it couldn't be used as the remote was taken. She was also unable to access wi-fi because the signal booster for the internet was also stolen, he said. Items taken from the hospital included televisions, remote controls, electronic games and portable air-conditioning units.
On the evening he visited, a nurse told him that people were caught trying to steal an electronic game.
"To steal the entertainment from the children, they're bored and they have nothing to distract them from their suffering.
"We know it's happening in adult hospitals but children are not able to cope with it in the same way." The hospital did not respond to a request for comment from the Herald at the time of going to print. However, a source confirmed that thieving happens "constantly" in the hospital.
"Toys, prams, wheelchairs - it happens all the time but it's not just in this hospital," they said.
Philip believes that those behind the thefts are a mix of family members of sick children and others.
"Management are probably doing all they can but it's time to think outside the box," he said.
"Perhaps there is an Irish company who would be able to offer some kind of security solution that would help."