The 102-year-old woman who endured 26 hours on an A&E trolley was facing a new battle with the health service last night.
Rose O'Halloran, from Castle Close, Clondalkin, Dublin, who suffered distressing conditions in Tallaght Hospital - described as a form of "torture" by a leading A&E consultant - has been told by health officials she must be assessed and go on a waiting list before being granted a chairlift to get up and down from her bedroom.
Her son Liam, who made the request after hospital officials visited her home yesterday to apologise for the ordeal, said: "I asked about a chairlift but was told she would have to be assessed by an occupational therapist.
"You just have to look at her. Her sight is very poor and she could fall down the stairs. It could be too late if she is put on a waiting list. It seems to me it's calculated that way."
Rose was recovering at home yesterday after being on a trolley from early on the afternoon of bank holiday Monday until 5pm on Tuesday while undergoing a blood transfusion. She suffered a heart attack when she was 89 and also has arthritis and high blood pressure.
Tallaght Hospital emergency consultant Dr James Gray said: "This vulnerable old lady was subjected to the great indignity. There was constant light and noise, so very little sleep was possible. It is a form of torture. She was hooked up to blood transfusion drip."
Rose, whose husband William died 50 years ago, enjoys an independent life and still goes shopping with her devoted family, who also include daughters Marie and Irene and son John.
Liam spoke of how proud they are of Rose's lively spirit. "She is rather deaf and likely to misinterpret you.
"She is as bright as a button but refuses to wear a hearing aid. She hears what she wants to hear."
He said Rose did not feel well on Monday and her daughter Marie called an ambulance.
Tallaght Hospital A&E was the subject of a damning Hiqa investigation in 2010, prompting a €5.5m upgrade.
But some new areas remain idle, including the rapid assessment treatment unit, due to a lack of staff.
A €70m plan to ease overcrowding was announced in April but trolley numbers in emergency departments remain high. The HSE was unable to explain the ongoing crisis yesterday.
A spokesman for Tallaght Hospital said it fully accepts that no patient should be forced to wait for a bed and that priority should be given to elderly patients in allocation of beds.
A review of the particular circumstances that gave rise to the unacceptable delay in this case is in process and appropriate measures are being put in place to mitigate the risk of recurrence. A number of contributory factors include a peak in patient numbers due to the bank holiday and a 25pc rise in older patients coming to A&E in the last two years.
If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail. Benjamin Franklin's quote aptly describes current Irish health policy. There's an identity crisis in our national health services. At every level of clinical care, intrinsic confusion exists as to the ultimate model of delivering treatment. Contradictions also abound as to the fundamentals of health policy. Fine Gael and Labour's Programme for Government promised Universal Health Insurance (UHI) by 2019 to end 'two-tier' health care, whereby public patients received a lesser, slower service and private patients could queue-jump into fast-track quality treatment. The idea was to achieve equality of access through uniform health cover, with the State paying premiums for those who couldn't afford it.