Sunday 21 January 2018

Woman is facing a €75-a-night charge to lie on a hospital trolley for four days

Deirdre Tuohy waits for a bed
Deirdre Tuohy waits for a bed

Elaine Keogh

A woman who has just spent her fourth day on a hospital trolley has hit out after being told it will cost her €75 a night.

Deirdre Tuohy (41) spoke out as the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation said there were 39 people on trolleys in Our Lady of Lourdes in Drogheda - the highest in the country yesterday.

She said: "I have worked all my life and I cannot afford to pay bills like this.

"I came into casualty at 8.30pm on Friday night because my left hand side had gone numb."

Ms Tuohy has a history of blood clots and was seen by a doctor within two hours of going to the hospital.

"But after that I was left sitting in a chair until 3.30am on Saturday," she added, at which stage she was given a trolley.

She said that on Saturday the trolley was moved onto a day ward in the main part of the hospital. She said that when the day patients went home she and another woman, also on a trolley, were still there. Even though she had been moved away from the Emergency Department, she was still on a trolley yesterday.

The HSE clarified that the current public in-patient charge is €75 per night, subject to a maximum of €750 in any 12 consecutive months.

But Ms Tuohy said: "I've worked all my life, I pay my taxes. I want the Government to start looking after the people of Ireland. I cannot afford to pay bills like this."

Her son Jake (5) has got Bannayan-Riley-Ruvalcaba syndrome, a very rare genetic condition, but she said he does not have a medical card.

"He has a 'doctor only' card. That is no good to us, because if something happens we have to bring him to the hospital. They may as well give us nothing," she said.

She has praise for the nurses in the hospital, saying: "They are fabulous, they're just brilliant.

"I have to stand up though, because what is going on is not fair. What about the older people? This is not just about me."

Last night Ms Tuohy finally got a bed. She had contacted former Mayor of Drogheda, Cllr Kevin Callan, an Independent Alliance candidate, who said: "I am inundated with complaints about the bed situation.

"It appears over the weekend situations arise where people are located to different hallways of the hospital."

A spokesman for the hospital said it was operating the escalation protocol required when waiting times and trolley numbers reach a certain level.

This involves placing some patients who are in the A&E on trolleys into wards.

Irish Independent

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