Hospital patients call fire services due to fears of overcrowding in A&E
Patients in University Hospital Limerick called the Fire Services last weekend when they became concerned that overcrowding in the A&E posed a serious danger to patients’ lives.
The fire officer was called by distressed relatives of a patient waiting on a trolley last Sunday night, October 23, and expressed concerns that the resuscitation area, where patients are treated for cardiac arrest, was blocked by trolleys.
A source at the hospital told the Sunday World: “There were patients waiting between the double doors on the way in to A&E from the ambulance bay. To the left is the resuscitation area, it should be clear.”
“If a patient in the middle of the A&E had a cardiac arrest there was no way for the doctors to attend because the patient couldn’t be brought into the resuscitation area,” the source continued.
The number of patients on trolleys at UHL was in the above 40 all week.
It is understood hospital staff couldn’t bring some patients in from the ambulances because there were no more trolleys available.
Nurses at UHL are described as being "under so much pressure" and there are worries the situation will worsen over the winter months.
University Hospital Limerick confirmed to the Sunday World that the Chief Fire Officer visited the Emergency Department and expressed their concerns last Sunday.
"UL Hospitals Group has long acknowledged that the emergency department at UHL is simply too small for the volumes of patients attending and is not fit for purpose,” a hospital spokesperson told the Sunday World.
There are currently plans for a new state-of-the-art emergency department to open in May 2017.