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Sunday 15 September 2019

Man who bled to death was waiting 40 minutes for ambulance

Dualtagh Donnelly, his partner Lindzie Cooney, and their children Fionn (3) and Caragh (11 months). Photo: Ciara Wilkinson
Dualtagh Donnelly, his partner Lindzie Cooney, and their children Fionn (3) and Caragh (11 months). Photo: Ciara Wilkinson
Dualtagh Donnelly with his two children Fionn (3) and Caragh (11 months). Photo: Ciara Wilkinson Photo: Ciara Wilkinson
Minister for Health Leo Varadkar with Chief Ambulance Officer Pat Grant at the announcment of 64 brand new ambulances

Eilish O'Regan and Kevin Doyle

A review is to be carried out into the tragic death of a young father who bled to death in his home after waiting 40 minutes for an ambulance, Health Minister Leo Varadkar has confirmed.

He was commenting after the family of Dualtagh Donnelly (25) spoke of their heartache at witnessing him bleeding profusely when he cut his arm on a glass panel in the bathroom.

Mr Donnelly's partner Lindzie Cooney said: "I don't know where that ambulance came from. It just seemed forever for them to get there."

The minister said an advanced paramedic arrived at the scene in Dundalk, Co Louth, within 23 minutes and advice was given on the phone initially.

"He started emergency care on his arrival. Everything that could be done was done," he said yesterday.

The ambulance took another 15 minutes to arrive. Mr Varadkar said there was a problem on October 26 with short-notice absences by ambulance crew.

It came as Mr Varadkar launched the first of three of 64 ambulances being provided this year in a €9.4m on investment under the fleet replacement programme.

They were unveiled yesterday at Dublin Castle, along with a new Rapid Response Vehicle.

He said the 64 vehicles will be allocated to ambulance bases across Ireland before the end of the year to replace vehicles which have reached the end of their life cycle, and to support additional services.

"In addition to standard equipment such as cardiac defibrillators and 12-lead ECG monitors, the vehicles are fitted with additional equipment including mechanical in-vehicle CPR. Paramedic teams have also been given direct access to cardiac catheterisation labs for patients with cardiac conditions, and will no longer have to attend the nearest emergency department for diagnosis."

Commenting on revelations that a 91-year-old man spent 29 hours on a trolley at Tallaght Hospital's A&E earlier this week, the minister admitted it was not an isolated incident.

He said many of the patients in emergency departments are now elderly and up 40 patients in any day could be waiting for more than 24 hours for a bed on a trolley.

He declined to place the blame with any one health official for the failure to see better results in reducing overcrowding, despite the investment being directed at the problem.

"Between now and early January an additional 400 beds including an extension to the emergency department in Tallaght. We do have a plan and we are implementing it."

In the Dáil, there was a sustained attack from Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin, who said the problems were getting worse.

Fianna Fáil Dara Calleary said Taoiseach Enda Kenny had joined Mr Varadkar "in being a commentator from the sidelines on the state of the country's health system".

Irish Independent

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