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Tuesday 23 January 2018

Report catalogues 'shocking and unacceptable' care in our hospitals

Aine Kerr

THE complaints surrounding hospital treatments were described as "shocking and unacceptable" by the Ombudsman Emily O'Reilly. They include:


Case: A woman complained she was deprived of pain relief because the attending midwife failed to recognise that she was in labour.

An internal investigation found she had received "sub-optimal care", falling into the category of neglect.

The hospital's general manager agreed to write a letter of apology to the woman, provided private counselling sessions and an ex-gratia payment of €1,000 as a goodwill gesture.

Outcome: Woman given apology, counselling and ex-gratia payment of €1,000.


Case: The wife of a terminally ill patient at Tullamore Hospital complained that his thrombo embolic deterrent stockings had not been removed in almost three weeks, that his nursing notes were deficient and that his medication was not being administered.

The hospital drew up new procedures, and focused staff training on those issues.

Outcome: Hospital addresses systemic failures.


Case: The daughter of a respite-care patient at Wexford Hospital complained that her mother, who had been admitted for two weeks' respite care, came home with severe bruising, which she alleged resulted from being poorly handled by staff.

She also complained that her mother was not allowed to use a special mattress and had to remain in her bed for much of her stay as no suitable seating was available.

The hospital undertook to provide additional training for staff in manual handling and to introduce new procedures to monitor and record bruising.

Outcome: Hospital commits to additional training and new procedures.


Case: The daughter of a cancer patient who died in Beaumont Hospital complained that when her father vomited what appeared to be faecal matter, no medical person came to review him.

Nothing was done that day to reduce her father's distress; he was admitted to the intensive care unit the following day and died 10 days later.

The hospital CEO agreed to meet the family to apologise for the shortcomings identified in their late father's care and treatment. He also wrote a detailed letter of apology which he gave to the family at that meeting.

Outcome: Hospital apologises and introduces new procedures.


Case: The daughter of a resident in St Loman's Hospital, Mullingar, complained of major deficiencies at the psychiatric hospital. She claimed that there was non-compliance in relation to the introduction of multi-disciplinary team care plans, provision of therapeutic activity, records management, residents' personal property and privacy and physical accommodation, including toilet facilities.

The HSE said every effort was made to rectify issues identified by the inspector, but this was not always possible with available resources.

Outcome: Hospital addressing issues identified.


Case: A medical card holder suffering from bulimia nervosa complained that the HSE in Clare had withdrawn funding that had allowed her to attend private treatment for her condition.

Outcome: HSE reimbursed the woman the full cost of her past treatment following an investigation.

Irish Independent

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