Thursday 16 August 2018

'Children were in agony in the corridors' - Paramedic slams 'third world conditions' as daughter recovers from ruptured appendix

Ruby and her mother in Our Lady's Children's Hospital last night
Ruby and her mother in Our Lady's Children's Hospital last night
Amy Molloy

Amy Molloy

A paramedic has slammed the Irish health system as he witnessed children "in absolute agony" sleeping in corridors and on chairs in one of the country's busiest hospitals.

Willie Bermingham's 7-year-old daughter, Ruby, suffered a ruptured appendix this week and had to be rushed to Our Lady's Children's Hospital, Crumlin on Tuesday.

He described how children lined the hallways due to the overcrowded conditions in the hospital.

Mr Bermingham, who works with Dublin Fire Brigade, heaped praise on the staff at the hospital for their positive attitude.

He said thanks to them - and only them - his daughter is now on the road to recovery.

"The only elastic that is holding that hospital together is the staff," he told Independent.ie.

"They had no space for people, they were overrun with patients left over from night shifts and more admissions kept coming. There were five kids in last night with their appendix; all acute, urgent surgeries and the staff were flat to the mat. Some of the children were in agony."

As a paramedic, the Dubliner said he has become accustomed to seeing "third world conditions" in hospitals.

"I know a lot of the nurses personally, some of them stayed three days over Storm Emma and there was all this fanfare around them from the Health Minister, but then it was quickly forgotten.

"Hire more nurses, hire more doctors, and pay them a proper wage. Everyone needs to go into the hospitals and see the reality. Even still, the staff are still going around with smiles on their faces.

"They are working in the most cramped conditions that are way beyond sustainable or safe but still achieving brilliant results."

The Government has been urged to declare an emergency status in hospitals as overcrowding reached record levels this week.

The number of patients on trolleys or on wards waiting for admission to a bed reached a new record of 714 on Monday, according to figures from the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO).

Health Minister Simon Harris has cancelled his St Patrick’s Day trip to Europe as a result.

In a tweet he said: "People across the health service are working extraordinarily hard to make progress in what is a difficult week.

"I am in regular contact with HSE. It would not feel right to me as Minister to travel for St Patrick’s Day so I have made decision not to do so".

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