Sick patients spending €100 a week on bringing own food in during treatment
Cystic fibrosis patients at one of the country's biggest hospitals are bringing their own food when receiving treatment because they are not happy that their dietary requirements are being met.
The food quality is deemed so bad by some patients at Beaumont Hospital in Dublin that they are spending more than €100 per week on sandwiches and food while staying there.
Lydia Daly (22), from Portmarnock, Dublin, has been visiting Beaumont since she was 17 years old for treatment. She said she had spent more than €1,000 on food during 10 weeks at the hospital in the past year.
"As a cystic fibrosis patient, my calorie demands would be a lot higher than the average person of my age because when you are fighting an infection your body uses up calories at a colossal rate," said Lydia.
"The dieticians said that we would have to bring food in because the hospital food budget would not allow for extra meals or extra portions."
However, Beaumont Hospital denied that staff advised patients to bring their own food and said that the hospital made every effort to assist patients with dietary issues.
Lydia, who is also hyperglycaemic, said she was often forced to wait up to 16 hours overnight between dinner and breakfast.
"You would get cereal, but I could not eat it because it was full of sugar," said Lydia.
"I'd buy a pre-packed sandwich in the hospital shop for breakfast. At lunch, you might get a veggie burger on its own or a piece of fish or meat with a shrivelled-up piece of broccoli.
"The next meal was at four o'clock and again that was the same thing, a chicken burger with soggy chips or wedges and they were horrible.
"It is so infuriating. You are there to try and get well but the food would actually make you feel worse.
"It is so unappetising and the way it is served up is absolutely disgusting," complained Lydia.
"I was on my disability allowance of €188 per week and €100 of that was going on food," she added.
Lydia has since had her treatment moved to St Vincent's Hospital.
However, Alison Dempsey said her son Matthew (16) eats cold dinners that she brings to the hospital during his stays there.
"I easily spend more than €100 bringing in food for Matthew," said Alison.
"I resorted to cooking at home and bringing it in the car to him."
Beaumont Hospital last night said it had not received any formal complaints about the food served to its patients.
A hospital spokesperson told the Irish Independent: "Meals are served at regular intervals during the day and include a number of options from which patients can choose.
"Beaumont Hospital makes every effort to assist cystic fibrosis patients in achieving their additional daily dietary requirements."