Tuesday 25 June 2019

'I spent 22 hours on a plastic chair in frozen cold A&E' - music teacher (24)

Helen Murray (24), from Youghal, Co Cork. Picture: Provision
Helen Murray (24), from Youghal, Co Cork. Picture: Provision
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

A young music teacher endured the ordeal of spending 22 hours on a plastic chair in the waiting room at the Mater Hospital A&E in Dublin.

Helen Murray (24), who lives in Inchicore, Dublin, is now recovering in her native Youghal, Co Cork.

She was forced to go to the A&E to seek an MRI scan after her doctor became concerned she could have symptoms of multiple sclerosis.

Ms Murray said: "I went to the A&E at noon on Friday but was not seen by a doctor until Saturday.

"It was very mentally stressful.

"Elderly people were forced to sit on plastic chairs overnight. They were afraid if they left they would be put to the back of the queue again.

"Many didn't have access to food as they were petrified to move from their seat to go to a café in case their name would be called and they would lose their spot."

She pointed out all the food machines only take coins and "yet we live in a world where many people only use a card or even their phones to pay".

"We were frozen cold as the sliding doors were constantly opening and closing and no pillows or blankets were given to those of us waiting," she said

Her mother drove from Cork with blankets which she shared with other patients.

Ms Murray praised staff saying she could not understand how they work in such conditions.

She was seen by a doctor and left at 3pm on the Saturday before returning on Monday for the MRI.

The scan was carried out on Tuesday and it was found she had a stretched nerve.

"I cannot understand why the MRI could not have been carried out at the weekend.

"It meant I waited six days to get an MRI. The health system is broken," she said.

Ms Murray added she could not understand why people protested in the streets over water charges but were not demonstrating about the state of the health service.

She said "Those patients waiting should contact their TDs and inform them of the crisis."

A hospital spokeswoman said: "We cannot comment on individual patient cases."

Irish Independent

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