Sunday 17 December 2017

Irish man who was left standing in A&E for 12 hours is in critical condition after suffering heart attack

Noel McDermott
Noel McDermott
Amy Molloy

Amy Molloy

A Dublin man who left an A&E department after waiting 12 hours, is in a critical condition after suffering a heart attack, his family has claimed.

Noel McDermott (52) told his sister he “couldn’t take it much longer” when he was left to stand in the A&E department of the Mater Hospital in Dublin.

Days later, he suffered a heart attack and is now in the High Dependency Unit after suffering from profound brain damage, his sister Catherine McDermott told

Mr McDermott has a history of health problems and has been diagnosed with a potentially life-threatening bowel condition.  He also has two stents in his heart and was awaiting a third before he suffered the heart attack.

Due to having a severely low blood count, he had to have 15 blood transfusions so far this year.

His sister is calling on the Irish Government to do something about the lack of staff and serious overcrowding in hospitals.

“There were just seven chairs in the A&E department. He had nowhere to sit and kept falling to his honkers with the pain. After twelve hours, he turned to me and said ‘I can’t take it much longer’,” Ms McDermott said.

“The nurses were trying to explain to us how they are short-staffed and there was no room to put him, so we can’t really blame them,” she added.

Four weeks ago Noel visited a care doctor service when he developed a splitting pain in his side. The doctor thought it may have been appendicitis and told him to go to A&E.

The following morning, he attended the Mater Emergency Department and a CT scan identified a life-threatening bowel condition.

Catherine claims he was then sent back out to wait as he could not be admitted to a ward, so he went home after not being able to stand any longer with the pain.

“I think he was terrified it was cancer. He was so exhausted that he left A&E and went home. I begged him to go back but he broke down in front of me.”

Twenty-four hours later, Mr McDermott became violently ill and suffered a massive heart attack.

“We were told a week ago that there was no hope for him, he had severe brain damage due to his brain being starved of oxygen. But since then, he has opened his eyes. He tried to communicate with us to say he was in pain, he kept tapping his stomach, and turns out he had three ulcers,” Catherine said.

“I’m trying to get hold of doctors but it’s not easy. You have to go through the nurses first but it could be hours before you speak to them.”

Catherine is frustrated by the health system and says it makes her fear ever falling ill herself.

“You are supposed to feel safe in hospitals when sick, but if you can’t even get a bed or be guaranteed urgent attention, how are you meant to. Noel shouldn’t have been left to stand for twelve hours, he should have been treated.”

“The Mater Hospital and its staff endeavours at all times to treat all patients that are admitted to its Emergency Department with the highest possible standard of care and compassion," a hospital spokesperson told

“The Mater Hospital does not comment on individual patient cases, but does assess and validate all issues brought to its attention. We have reviewed the case as has been outlined and it does not specifically match a patient pathway in our records.  Patient Services are liaising with the family of Mr McDermott regarding any issues.”

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