Crowded A&E 'will increase flu deaths'
Patients will die due to the spread of swine flu in overcrowded emergency departments, doctors warned yesterday, writes Eilish O'Regan. The doctors said it was inevitable that cross-infection would put lives at risk.
The doctors said they were denied the basic facilities to isolate patients with the flu.
There were 492 patients on trolleys yesterday -- just three short of the number Health Minister Mary Harney declared a national emergency in 2006.
"This scenario will result in death and adverse conditions for vulnerable patients -- an outcome which is all the more tragic as the situation is both foreseeable and preventable," said the doctors' spokesman, Dr John McInerney.
He said they were calling for the immediate opening of closed beds.
A failure to grasp the nettle and deal with the overcrowding issue "will result in unnecessary fatalities and adverse outcomes as the impact of swine flu worsens", he said.