Hospitals running out of beds as injuries mount
PATIENTS in need of surgery after sustaining injuries in the snow are having to spend hours on trolleys because of a lack of hospital beds, doctors warned yesterday.
A&Es are seeing a 30-50pc surge in people suffering broken bones and dislocation of joints after falling in the treacherous weather conditions.
The worst-hit hospitals are in Drogheda, the Midlands, Cork and Galway, according to the Health Service Executive.
At present, there are around 1,400 hospital beds out of use in hospitals, leaving people on trolleys waiting longer for an admission to a ward.
In some hospitals, extra theatres were opened to cope with the demand for orthopaedic operations by snow victims whose injuries may be "life-changing".
Dr John McInerney, spokes-man for emergency consultants, said: "Falls in icy conditions tend to be heavy and result in greater degrees of bone and joint trauma than normal falls, leaving many victims needing surgery rather than treatment in plaster alone."
Many hospital workers have been staying overnight or in nearby accommodation in order to be on time for work.
Meanwhile, the Irish Blood Transfusion Service (IBTS), which laid on extra donor clinics over the weekend, said it now has enough supplies for five to six days, thanks to nearly 700 people coming forward.
However, supplies could suffer a setback if any more clinics have to be cancelled because of the weather conditions, said Paddy Bowler, director of operations in the IBTS.