Wednesday 17 January 2018

Health in crisis: 'My mother is 87 and she's been waiting on a trolley for 24 hours'

Stephen Bathe, from Ranelagh, at the A&E in St James’s Hospital, where his mother is being treated. Photo: Caroline Quinn
Stephen Bathe, from Ranelagh, at the A&E in St James’s Hospital, where his mother is being treated. Photo: Caroline Quinn
Fiona Dillon

Fiona Dillon

St James's Hospital in Dublin had one of the highest numbers of patients on trolleys and on wards yesterday awaiting a bed.

Some 28 patients were recorded as being on trolleys by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) at the hospital.

Stephen Bathe, from Ranelagh in Dublin, was at the hospital with his mother who is nearly 87. By 6pm yesterday, she had spent 24 hours on a trolley in the Emergency Department (ED), waiting for a bed.

"She came here from a nursing home and arrived at about 6pm on Tuesday evening. She was brought in by ambulance," Mr Bathe told the Irish Independent.

His mother was admitted to the ED, and then her long wait for a bed began.

"It was very busy. Last night, they said that they only wanted one relative with one patient," said Mr Bathe.

Trolleys line the corridors inside the hospital
Trolleys line the corridors inside the hospital

"They are under pressure, they really are. You can see that," he said.

Speaking about conditions within the ED itself, he said there was not much space among the trolleys and patients were offered little privacy.

He said that people of all ages were waiting for a bed on trolleys.

However, he said that it was "relatively calm".

Click to view full size graphic
Click to view full size graphic

His mother was placed on a trolley in the ED after she was admitted.

However, Mr Bathe said he believed that other non-urgent cases were being told they could face a wait of 10 hours on Tuesday night.

"I haven't been here in a long time, but it does seem to be more crowded than it was nine years ago," he said.

Mr Bathe said there were no seats for relatives with patients admitted within the ED - possibly due to space constraints - so everybody was left standing beside the trolleys.

Trolleys line the corridors inside the hospital
Trolleys line the corridors inside the hospital

"There was a guy sitting on a refuge bin beside his friend or relative last night.

"I am going in and out to sit in the waiting room. My mother is just immediately inside, so they can call me in," he explained.

A spokesperson for the hospital said: "St James's Hospital is currently experiencing an increase in the numbers of those presenting to its ED and in particular those requiring admission. Hospital staff are collectively and actively responding to this challenging situation.

"Those with minor and less urgent medical problems are advised to see their pharmacy/GP/out-of-hours service in the first instance, where possible and appropriate," the spokesperson added.

Irish Independent

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