'I waited for more than five hours in A&E before I was told the hospital was totally full'
Joe Nuttall (73) from Tralee, Co Kerry, was waiting in the Emergency Department (ED) at University Hospital Kerry for more than five hours before he was informed that the hospital was "totally full".
Mr Nuttall, who is disabled and suffers from an inflammatory lung disease, arrived at the hospital at 5.30pm on Thursday due to serious concerns for his health. But after the patients were told of the overcrowding situation, the OAP said he had no choice but to leave.
"A nurse came into the reception and told us that the hospital was totally full, with no beds available at all," Mr Nuttall said.
"He said that they had 50 trolleys in the corridors around the building and that another doctor had been called in to help deal with the situation.
"He didn't advise us to leave the hospital but warned that we were in for a very long wait if we choose to stay.
"I suffer from sleep apnea and need a machine to help me breathe at night, and since they don't have one at the hospital, I had no option but to go home." Mr Nuttall argued that the Government is "completely ignorant" to the overcrowding situation in the west of Ireland.
"I'd love to sit in front of Leo Varadkar and tell him exactly what's going on because he hasn't the faintest idea about the crisis here.
"The population in Kerry at this time of the year doubles, which causes a huge strain on our hospitals and their staff.
"I'm just so upset that it's come to this because you really get the impression that no one cares."
Mr Nuttall, who lives with his wife in Lisardboula, added that advocating for better conditions in hospital has become a new passion in his life. "I want to take a stand once and for all. People all over the country are stripped of their dignity. We need to change the system once and for all," he said.