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Patient slapped with €750 bill for 40 hours on a chair

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Stephen O'Neill with his bill from Beaumont Hospital.

Stephen O'Neill with his bill from Beaumont Hospital.

Stephen O'Neill with his bill from Beaumont Hospital.

The bill that Stephen O'Neill received for his recent trip to Beaumont Hospital is not for the faint-hearted.

Stephen (34) was slapped with a bill for €750 for his visit to the overcrowded emergency department - for just two nights.

He said that to add insult to injury, his lengthy stay included 40 hours sitting on a chair.

Stephen had earlier this month described the appalling conditions faced by patients in the emergency department at the hospital to the Herald.

He told how the cramped conditions were particularly distressing for elderly people.

saga

"There was one woman in there suffering from dementia and she was screaming and shouting at 4am this morning and I just didn't sleep at all. It is just chaos," Stephen said at the time.

The saga unfolded when Stephen first went to the hospital on January 5. He has atrial fibrillation, which can cause an irregular heartbeat that he describes as a "racing sensation".

He was discharged two days later.

During this time, he spent 40 hours on a chair before finally getting a bed. He had 14 hours in a bed before he was able to go home.

"According to the bill, I was there for a year. From January 7, 2014, until the same date in 2015," Stephen said.

He was billed the maximum amount that can be charged for a public patient, who does not have a medical card. The statutory charge for overnight and day in-patient services is €75 per day up to a maximum of €750 in any 12 consecutive months.

"I knew there was going to be a bill, but I wasn't expecting €750. I would have got couple of nights in the Four Seasons for that," the dad-of-two joked.

"Realistically, I got a bed for half a night," Stephen pointed out.

He said that he will be contacting the hospital to point out the error on the bill.

Stephen - who has his own business supplying and fitting kitchens all over Dublin - said that he doesn't mind paying a fee to the hospital.

"I will pay the proper fee no problem," he said.

Beaumont Hospital said in a statement that it has since apologised to Mr O'Neill for the clerical error.

"The hospital doesn't comment on individual cases, but in this case the hospital had not received a query from the individual in relation to the bill," a representative told the Herald.

"Beaumont Hospital has made contact with the individual patient and has apologised for this error."

fdillon@herald.ie


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