'I'm disgusted' - Widow reveals she is waiting over 10 years to see doctor
A woman who waited more than 10 years for an appointment at a HSE clinic said she is "disgusted" to have been knocked off the waiting list and told she would have to reapply.
Eileen Meenan - a widowed mother of three sons who all have special needs - was put on to a waiting list over a decade ago after complaining of a pain in her left ear.
She says she remembers the time frame very well because she and her husband were just moving into their home in Greenacres, Dundalk, Co Louth, at the time.
"I went to a surprise 70th birthday party and that lady is now 81-and-a-half and I am still waiting for my appointment," she said.
Ms Meenan has had to start her application from scratch after failing to return a form to the HSE saying she wanted to remain on the waiting list.
"I got the letter saying 'we have not forgotten about you, you are still on our waiting list'," she said.
"I was so shocked at getting the letter after 10 years and to still be on a waiting list, that I didn't reply saying I wanted to remain on it. I got a follow-up letter saying I had been taken off the waiting list.
"That made me so angry that, after 10 years' waiting, I had just been thrown off the list and was told I would have to start again."
During her long wait, Ms Meenan has paid privately for a hearing aid for her left ear.
"I still need that appointment," she added. "For a patient to wait for 10-and-a-half years and then to be thrown off the list, to be discarded, well it disgusts me."
Recalling the pain she felt when she first sought treatment, Ms Meenan said: "At one point I thought it could be a brain tumour because the pain was so bad if I tipped my head to the side.
"I said to myself I will put cotton wool in my ear and I will get through the night, as I had done this before.
"I did that but woke up the next morning and realised the cotton wool had gone into my ear and I could not get it out.
"The pain got worse, I was in agony if I tilted my head, it was extraordinary pain."
The HSE said it does not comment on individual cases.