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Outrage as Gladys (93) left on chair in hospital for 25 hours

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Gladys Cummins pictured during her wait at hospital

Gladys Cummins pictured during her wait at hospital

Gladys Cummins pictured during her wait at hospital

A distressing image of a 93-year-old woman left waiting on a chair for 25 hours in a Dublin A&E has sparked outrage, following the worst month on record for hospital overcrowding.

Gladys Cummins went to Dublin's Mater emergency department (ED) on Monday afternoon and 25 hours later she was still in a chair waiting to be seen, according to her daughter.

"I'm starting to lose my faith in politics," said Dee Cummins on RTE Radio One's Liveline.

"My mother went into ED at 2.15pm. She was left in a chair for 25 hours. She was moved from a wheelchair to the chair and back onto a wheelchair again, as she's not mobile.

Lucidity

"We wrapped blankets around her because she was in a corridor. Every time the paramedics came in, there was a draught."

Ms Cummins and her two siblings waited while their mother was in the ED, as they didn't feel it was ever safe to leave her.

"She doesn't have dementia, but at that time she was in and out of lucidity. She was fretting over the fact she wanted to get home, saying 'Why am I here'. It was tough to calm her. We couldn't leave her."

According to Ms Cummins, from Glasnevin, there were a lot of elderly people who weren't being afforded much dignity so she took a photograph of her mother and put it on Facebook.

"I felt people needed to see this," she said.

"We talk a lot, between housing and healthcare, but nobody does anything. Rather than be a procrastinator and do nothing, I got up and took a photograph, put in on Facebook and asked people to share it.

"I thought of a Facebook page called the Long Wait. People can put photos of their relatives on this page and the amount of time they spent waiting to see a medic.

"I was hoping Simon Harris might do something.

"We know there's no easy solution but surely we can afford people some dignity when they are in extremely vulnerable positions."

Since putting up the photo of her mother, Ms Cummins has had a flood of responses from people who have had a similar situation with a loved one.

"One girl told me her father died in a corridor in the ED and she screamed for him to get some dignity," said Dee.

"There are hundreds of thousands of similar stories. The government is not up to the job obviously. It's not just Simon Harris. We have a Taoiseach and Tanaiste and Minister for Finance, in control of the purse. It's about them all.

"The monies are going into administration costs more than the feet on the ground in the hospital. My mother was in a newly built ED. It's not big enough. They are still sitting on chairs in corridors."

According to the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO), August was the worst month on record for overcrowding with 7,911 admitted patients waiting on chairs or trolleys - an increase of 2pc on August last year.

A HSE spokesperson said the organisation regrets any delays.

The Mater University Hospital said it cannot comment on individual cases, but apologised to any patients who have faced long delays in the last 48 hours.

"Staff are striving to ensure that all patients are seen as quickly as possible," it said.

"The hospital has been exceptionally busy with emergency presentations and admissions for this time of year, and patients are presenting with a variety of complex needs."


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