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Spinal injury victim Paul waiting a week for urgent surgery


Paul Brazil has been lying in a neck brace for a week

Paul Brazil has been lying in a neck brace for a week

Paul Brazil has been lying in a neck brace for a week

A man who suffered a serious spinal injury in a football match is still waiting for urgent surgery a week later due to a shortage of hospital beds.

Paul Brazil (38), from Stoneybatter, has been lying in a neck brace in a bed at St James's Hospital all week, unable to move in case he aggravates his injuries.

However, Paul needs to be transferred to the Mater Hospital for surgery to his spine.

St James's cannot give him the specialist treatment he needs, and is unable to transfer him because there are no available beds at the Mater.


Paul was playing in a football match and sustained the serious injury after a tackle.

He and his family have been told he has a ruptured disc in his neck and two breaks in his spine.

His sister Karen said he was "screaming in agony" when first injured and an ambulance was called straight away.

He was rushed to St James's because it was the closest emergency department.

"The paramedics knew it was a spinal injury. They put his neck in a frame and put him on a board straight away," Karen said.

"But they had to take him to the nearest hospital and St James's doesn't specialise in spinal injuries.

"Paul went to play the match at around 10.30am and he had already been seen by a doctor at St James's by around 11.30am. The doctor realised how bad the injury was.

"The doctor said Paul needed to go to orthopaedics at the Mater as it has a spinal cord unit.

"We were told it would be a day or two, it wouldn't be long at all for Paul to be transferred because it was a bad injury.

"He has a ruptured disc in his neck and two breaks in his spine, but every day we have been told to wait and hang on, that he should be going over to the Mater later on and it never happens.

"He could damage himself 100 times worse waiting. He's not on a spinal board, he's on a bed flat, strapped in tightly.

"We are told he should be going over today, over and over.

"But he's still there. We're worried how bad my brother will be because of this wait - could he be left paralysed?"

Paul's situation prompted one nurse at St James's to write an open letter to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar on Facebook.

In her post, the nurse, who we have not named because we were unable to contact her, wrote: "Dear Taoiseach, this evening myself and another colleague of mine sat in our out-patient department waiting on a bed for our poor spinal patient.

"We mind him here as there are no beds. We both have young families and were off a few hours ago, but we didn't leave because of our duty of care.

"We won't see our children tonight to wrap them up and kiss them goodnight, but I'll be happy knowing that my patient will be sorted.


"In order for this man to have surgery he has to be in a bed. It's not nursing staff that have caused the bed crisis.

"We are here keeping things going. Taoiseach there are NO beds!!! Also I believe deep down your words will make us nurses strike."

Karen said she was heartened by the nurse's Facebook post, as it highlighted "just how many good nurses we have in Ireland but they're being forced into an impossible situation".

"My brother is the most caring, charitable human being. He needs help and to be home soon with his family."

The Mater Hospital and St James' said they would not comment on individual cases.