Tuesday 22 October 2019

'No privacy or dignity' - woman who was left on trolley for five days

Debbie Egan (54) from Ballybunion waiting in University Hospital Kerry
Debbie Egan (54) from Ballybunion waiting in University Hospital Kerry

Sinead Kelleher

A woman who spent five days and nights on a hospital trolley has hit out at the health service, saying there is "no privacy or dignity" for patients.

Debbie Egan (54) from Ballybunion arrived in the Emergency Department (ED) of University Hospital Kerry on Thursday last week, suffering from chest pains. It was decided she should remain in hospital for a possible heart complaint. She also has an inoperable tumour, which is being monitored.

She was placed on a trolley in the ED hallway where she remained until Tuesday - a full five days and more than 100 hours later.

"It was a nightmare. No words can describe it," she said. "It is absolutely disgraceful. There is no privacy and dignity in here."

Ms Egan added that the nurses were under-staffed and under immense pressure.

She was moved to a bed in the acute medical assessment unit on Tuesday night. The same bed was then moved to the corridor on Wednesday morning and she lay there for the day, before being moved to a ward last night.

The hospital did not respond to a request for comment.

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation revealed that 1,718 patients were on trolleys or in overcrowded wards for the first three days of the week.

INMO general secretary Phil Ni Sheaghdha said yesterday: "These figures confirm that hospitals cannot cope, the system is unable to manage patient flow and the burden is falling on nursing and medical staff who are forced to work in tolerable conditions.

"It is time for the Government as a whole to recognise that the health service is in crisis and requires immediate emergency intervention. These numbers are the equivalent of three whole hospitals of patients for whom there are no beds."

Irish Independent

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