Tuesday 25 July 2017

Father of baby left on trolley for 11 hours rejects Kenny apology

Daniel Long and baby Orlaith
Daniel Long and baby Orlaith
Adam Cullen

Adam Cullen

A young Cork couple have said they "simply do not accept" an apology from the Taoiseach after their six-week-old baby daughter was left waiting on a hospital trolley for over 11 hours.

Enda Kenny yesterday apologised to the family of baby Orlaith, who waited over 11 hours in A&E before being admitted to a children's ward.

Daniel Long and his partner Debbie Looney have complained to Cork University Hospital about the treatment of their daughter, who was vomiting and showing signs of dehydration.

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams raised the incident, which unfolded over the night of Sunday, November 22, with Enda Kenny during leaders' questions in the Dail yesterday.

In response, Mr Kenny said he empathised with the parents' concerns.

"Cork University Hospital is carrying out an investigation into why this child was on a trolley for 11 hours," he said.

"I am glad to note that little baby Orlaith is recovering well at home and making good progress."

He added: "I'm glad the little child is recovering well. I'm sorry that she was on a trolley for those hours and I expect that the management of the hospital will respond to the minister (Leo Varadkar) and to the HSE as to why that actually happened."

However, despite Mr Kenny's apology, the couple say no one from his office contacted them directly. "We simply do not accept this apology," said Mr Long.

"No one from his office bothered to contact us directly. So no, we don't accept it.

"We want to raise this issue and tell our story in the hopes that other parents will not have to go through what we did.

"We were worried for our daughter like any parent would be. Babies can't tell you what is wrong with them. We brought Orlaith to A&E at 11.20pm on a Sunday. She did not get a bed until 10.30am on Monday morning. It is a disgrace."

The latest in a number of high-profile instances of lengthy trolley waits across Ireland was highlighted on the day the Cabinet signed off on a supplementary budget of €665m for health.

The additional funding will cover extra services provided this year, such as free GP care for the under-sixes and the over -70s and the Winter Initiative to tackle emergency department overcrowding.

A number of prolonged trolley waits, including some elderly patients, have recently been exposed by whistle-blowers.

One involved a 91-year-old man who waited on a trolley in a corridor under bright lights in Tallaght Hospital for 29 hours.

Another incident in the summer involved an elderly man who has cancer being kept on a trolley in the emergency department of Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda, for five days.

Mr Adams told Mr Kenny an apology in the latest case was "not good enough".

Chaos

"You are responsible for a health service in chaos," he said.

"And there's no point saying you are sorry - the fact is you are in charge and the fact is this government, led by Fine Gael and supported by Labour, will not adequately resource our hospitals because you do not believe in a public health model." Earlier in leaders' questions, Mr Kenny conceded that University Hospital Galway's A&E was "not fit for purpose".

"It's one of the most inadequate facilities in the country and needs to be replaced."

Irish Independent

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