Ex-mayor 'ashamed' after wife's A&E wait
Published 09/09/2010 | 05:00
A FORMER health board chairman told yesterday how he is ashamed that his name is associated with a major hospital where his elderly wife spent more than 24 hours on a trolley.
Jack Bourke, who served as chairman of the Mid-Western Health Board for more than 20 years, said he was very upset after his wife suffered a stroke and was left lying on a trolley at the Mid-Western Regional Hospital until the following day.
Nurses at the Limerick hospital claim there is a 'Fawlty Towers' approach to services.
Several plaques name-checking Mr Bourke are erected at the Dooradoyle hospital. He served as mayor of Limerick three times and was a long-serving Fianna Fail councillor.
"I am so ashamed that my name is on plaques all over the building. I was involved in getting planning permission for the hospital extension and then Michael Noonan, when he was Minister for Health, did the rest," Mr Bourke said.
Mr Bourke's wife, Monica, who is in her mid-70s, was being cared for at the hospital last night after suffering a stroke on Monday morning.
She was rushed to the hospital but was still lying on a trolley more than 24 hours later.
"I am sitting here beside her now," he said yesterday, "She only got a bed on Tuesday evening. She was on the trolley for almost two days."
"There is a lot of anger out here. Nobody is happy and I am very upset," he added.
"I do not understand why you have a packed A&E department with people tripping over themselves and extra nurses brought down to look after the people, instead of just opening another ward.
"There are a lot of people here who are on trolleys, while they are closing down wards. It makes no sense," he said.
"If I was chairman of the health board, this would not be happening. I would be up in Dublin at the minister's door."
He was told by hospital management there was a moratorium on replacing nurses who left.
"I accept the Government has to make savings, but it is quite ridiculous what is happening."
A HSE spokesman said Monday night was very busy at the hospital's A&E department with a "throughput of 60 patients" and warned that anyone visiting could expect delays.
A spokesperson for the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) said: "Proposals to close up to another 50 acute beds in Limerick next week will cause total collapse of acute hospital services in the region and is akin to a 'Fawlty Towers' approach."