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Sunday 19 November 2017

“The pictures don’t depict the sheer horror of what happened… Gerry had no dignity in hospital'

The family of Gerry Feeney (81) criticise his care at an overcrowded Beaumont Hospital

Gerry Feeney appeared on RTE News today
Gerry Feeney appeared on RTE News today Newsdesk Newsdesk

THE family of an elderly man who died weeks after being discharged from hospital despite suffering from respiratory problems have criticised the care he received after he was left in a 'soiled state' in public view.

The family of Gerry Feeney, 81, who passed away on January 31, said the former Aer Lingus foreman was left in a soiled state “with his nappy down around him” after being admitted to Beaumont Hospital.

Mr Feeney, from Donnycarney in Dublin, was referred to the hospital’s emergency department by Raheny House Nursing Home on December 8, for blood tests, and concerns were subsequently raised about his breathing.

He was discharged 24 hours later - by another doctor -  but staff at the nursing home were not satisfied with his treatment and referred him back to the emergency department two days later.

He was kept in an overflow ward in Accident and Emergency for five days, with his niece Ann Marie Feeney saying this morning that he was treated "very well" within the St Patrick's Unitl.

However, he was then moved to a geriatrics ward when his family feel he should have been admitted to an acute respiratory ward.

And they say he was treated without dignity during his stay in this ward - at one stage they found him in a chair in a soiled state, in full public view. 

“He was actually left sitting out in public... The pictures don’t depict the sheer horror of what happened… he had no dignity," Ms Feeney told RTE's Morning Ireland this morning.

Her uncle, she added, was previously "always well groomed... you could smell the aftershave off him before you would see him" and said he would have been very distressed to be left unwashed and changed.

"He begged my aunty Shiela to get him out of there," she said. 

“He was treated as if he was invisible… his whole bottom half wasn’t covered… everyone could see the state he was in."

She said the family were told by staff that they were too busy to change Mr Feeney. 

The former soldier was discharged from Beaumont on January 9, but died at the nursing home from respiratory problems three weeks later.

In a statement, Beaumont Hospital said the matters raised by the family were of “deep concern”.

“It is not Beaumont’s practice to discuss individual cases.

“We can confirm that the Feeney family has been in touch with the hospital to express serious concern about the care provided by Beaumont and to make a number of specific requests of the hospital.

“We regret the serious issues and concerns raised by the family. These are of deep concern to the hospital and are being investigated.

“We are liaising with the Feeney family and will inform them on the outcome of this investigation.”

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