Wednesday 16 October 2019

Letters to the Editor: 'Unsung heroes in our health service all go the extra mile'

'Standing in A&E is an eye-opener.' Stock photo: PA
'Standing in A&E is an eye-opener.' Stock photo: PA
Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

Our health service comes under fire on a nearly daily basis. Over the last six months I have experienced the HSE up-close and personal, both as a patient and as an adult child of an elderly parent with almost weekly changing health needs.

Standing in A&E is an eye-opener. As soon as you cross the threshold of the doors, you no longer are the person you are, living independently, going about your day-to-day life. All of a sudden, you lose a bit of independence, relying on others to help you or your relative, alleviate your worry or prepare you for more uncertainty. Feelings of fear and helplessness are never far away.

While standing alongside my parent who was recently admitted with a sudden serious illness, I was taken by the noise. Not the clatter of voices that comes with large numbers in small spaces, but rather the stories, patients telling the staff member who was with them who they were, what they did in their youth, what they worked at.

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They wanted them to know who they were and they were not this vulnerable, helpless person, scared but glad of their help in one of Dublin’s busiest emergency departments.

And they listened. Each different member of staff took the time to listen. The patient felt they were somebody. Whether it is the person at reception, the unflappable ward attendant prescribing tea and biscuits, the ward attendant calmly paying attention to the needs and comfort of the patients to the many members of the nursing and medical staff, each one provides a level of care which is hard to quantify yet personal and meaningful, in a way I hope they realise is hugely appreciated. Thank you all.

Jo-Anne Sexton

Killester, Dublin 5


Vote to Remain is alive and kicking as landscape changes

WITHOUT looking to polls to find out how UK citizens might now feel about ‘Leave’ or ‘Remain’, and without even wondering if many have changed their minds, it is worth noting that in the three years since they voted on the issue, about 1.714 million of the electoral register have died. By the same token, one might imagine that about the same amount of citizens have progressed to voting age.

It now becomes clear that the three years since 2016 have changed the political landscape fundamentally. In the 2016 referendum, 70pc of 18- to 24-year-olds voted Remain and only 40pc of those aged 65-plus voted Remain. If you crunch the numbers, it appears to me the “ayes” to Remain, by virtue of being above ground, have it.

Noel Mannion

Clonbur, Co Galway


Taoiseach’s comments on priests bring shame on FG

EACH and every day the reputation of Leo Varadkar diminishes. His latest comment shows that the mask has truly slipped. There is nothing honourable about Mr Varadkar’s comment, this week past, that priests go behind altars to commit inappropriate actions – because that is exactly what Leo Varadkar was stating.

Imagine for one second that Michael Collins would ever contemplate such a statement. Leo Varadkar dishonours the office of Taoiseach. He also disconnects Fine Gael from its roots. His shallowness emerges daily.

We are a tolerant nation. A nation of faith and no faith, morals, culture and immigrants, which comprises families and genders of any and all descriptions. Clearly a Taoiseach who promotes an agenda of segregation has lost all political and historical understanding.

Irish people of faith were demonised for centuries by those who sought to stamp out ‘Catholic Ireland’. Now it comes from the Taoiseach of our country. Is this latest rant against Catholics by Leo Varadkar the new Fine Gael policy of partition?

Dr Seosamh Ó Ceallaigh

Gort an Choirce, Co Dhún na nGall


Why hospital mortality rates can’t be taken at face value

I REFER to the column and opinion piece by Eilish O’Regan regarding the publication by the National Healthcare Quality Reporting System of mortality rates for individual hospitals from incidents such as heart attacks and strokes.

This is crude data and is not adjusted for patient age, complexity or comorbidity. As such, it is practically meaningless.

Bantry General Hospital, for example, tops the league table for mortality in patients with heart attacks. This hospital, however, has officially the oldest and frailest patients of any acute hospital in the country. Such patients frequently have multiple coexisting critical diagnoses, one of which may be a heart attack. A heart attack may not even be the most serious of these multiple diagnoses.

Of course mortality rates are higher than elsewhere. The surprise is how low mortality rates actually are, given the frailty level of patients admitted.

Dr Brian Carey

Bantry, Co Cork

Irish Independent

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