Dad gets hospital date for Christmas 2021
Human error blamed for mix-up
A FATHER-OF-THREE who was given a consultant's appointment for Christmas Day in eight years' time has spoken of his disbelief at receiving the letter.
Limerick man Victor Brown revealed yesterday how, after attending his GP with a specific medical complaint, he was referred to attend a consultant at St John's Hospital in Limerick.
The 44-year-old said he had to do a "double take" when he subsequently received a letter from the hospital inviting him to attend an unnamed consultant's rooms at noon on December 25, 2021.
"I had to do a double take. I just thought it was crazy. I was quite annoyed, to be honest, especially when I thought if elderly or really sick people are receiving these type of letters."
A former rugby player with Shannon RFC, the father-of-three said he was inundated with calls after he first spoke about the letter on Today's FM's 'Ray D'Arcy Show'.
"I had calls from friends asking me if I was winding them up. I'm a big boy and I can look after myself but what if somebody quite ill receives this kind of letter or if they don't have health insurance?"
After learning the hospital would be sending him out a new appointment, he quipped: "Whether it's for a doctor's appointment or an autopsy remains to be seen."
In a statement yesterday, John Cummins, deputy chief executive of St John's Hospital in Limerick, confirmed the GP referral letter was received on Monday and would be reviewed by the relevant consultant at their outpatient clinic.
"An appointment will be given in accordance with national best practice and we anticipate that this appointment will be in the next few months and will confirm this directly to the patient," he said.
Explaining the reasoning for the letter being sent to Mr Brown, the hospital said that the patient's appointment referral was placed in a "suspense" file on the hospital's computer system pending consultant review.
"Unfortunately, this information, instead of the appropriate letter of acknowledgement, was issued to the patient.
"We will be apologising to the patient for this simple human error."
Mr Cummins said the hospital wanted to reassure all patients that it met "the national target of no patient waiting longer than 12 months for an out-patient appointment".