'Frustrated, angry - I'd nearly be better off at home' - grandmother on hospital trolley for 24 hours
Grandmother Marie Gleeson was "sore" after 24 hours lying on a trolley overnight in a corridor in the Limerick Emergency Department.
The €25m state-of-the-art emergency department (ED) was opened in June 2017, but is continually overcrowded as it is the only 24-hour ED in the region.
Its catchment area, across Limerick city and county, Clare, Tipperary and parts of North Cork, includes nearly 400,000 people.
"People are looking for somewhere to sit down. I'm in since 3pm yesterday. I got a trolley at 3am this morning," said Ms Gleeson (68) from Tipperary.
Sleep-deprived, she continued to put on a brave face, despite her long wait for a bed and a rest.
Praising the hospital's staff, she added: "It's a disgrace that they're run off their feet in here, and there's not enough beds, and not enough facilities.
"As individuals and citizens, we are entitled to proper treatment, aren't we? But were not getting it.
"The staff are lovely and very experienced, but last night it was hectic. I've been sitting on a trolley in a corridor in A&E, and it's so uncomfortable, I've pains in my back and shoulders."
She continued: "People are on drips sitting on chairs. [Staff] are bringing trolleys from one area to another and there's no room to stand."
Only one family member per patient was allowed into the ED as doctors and nurses tried desperately to offer the best care despite the conditions.
"I feel frustrated, angry. I'd nearly be better off at home, I'd get more rest. Yet, I want to try and get it over and done with, because I'm a carer, looking after elderly people," Ms Gleeson added.
An 87-year-old man who presented with dizziness at 9am on Tuesday managed to get "two hours sleep" in the "30 hours" he had spent on a trolley in a corridor.
He added: "I told [the other patients] not to be getting angry or anxious with the doctors and nurses, because they are up all night watching us, and that's a tough job - that's what I told them."
Nurses and doctors administered treatment to patients with barely room for them to stand amongst the carpet of trolleys.
At 8am, 81 patients were on trolleys, in the ED and on wards.
Mary Fogarty, local Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) representative, said the "true figure" increased to 92 by midday.
"Overcrowding is epidemic, I don't have words for it. It's demoralising," Ms Fogarty said.