HomeNewsHospital horror hits the elderly

Hospital horror hits the elderly


Regionalhospital-300x181 by Kathy Masterson


AN 81-year-old woman was left sitting on a commode for two hours in the emergency department at University Hospital Limerick (UHL) last week.

The woman’s granddaughter, who asked not to be named, told the Limerick Post on Thursday that her grandmother was also waiting on a trolley for more than 24 hours.

“She was put sitting on a commode for two hours, and now they have her in nappies because they don’t have the time to put her on a commode”, she explained.

“The nurses are doing everything that they can in these conditions; it’s not their fault. It was a nurse who told me to ring the newspaper to try and do something about it.

“There is a queue of ambulances waiting outside the hospital with patients in them. They can’t get the patients into the A&E because there’s nowhere to put them”, the woman added.

Last Thursday, there were 11 ambulances waiting outside the emergency department in a queue to admit patients. At that time there were 27 patients already on trolleys and a further 16 waiting for beds in wards.

On Friday, there were 24 patients on trolleys and 24 patients waiting in wards.

Meanwhile, the family of a 101-year-old woman from Clare said she had to wait five hours for an ambulance on Thursday to take her to UHL, and then spent 25 hours on a trolley in the emergency department.

Mary Fogarty, INMO representative for the Mid West said: “It’s absolutely deplorable, disgraceful and inhumane that any health service could leave a woman of that age, 101 years old, on a trolley. Words just can’t express it. We have repeatedly asked the HSE to prioritise patients in emergency departments for beds.”

Limerick  Fine Gael TD Kieran O’Donnell called for an immediate review into the case and said he is to meet with Health Minister Leo Varadkar to address the issue.

“The HSE has to make absolutely sure that this does not happen again,” he added.

A spokesperson for the HSE said that the emergency department at UHL saw “an unexpected increase in patients presenting over the last week” which resulted in long delays and high numbers of patients waiting on trolleys.

“During particularly busy times last Thursday, a number of ambulances experienced delays discharging patients to the care of the University Hospital Limerick, however every effort was made to free up ambulances as a priority.

“UL Hospitals Group apologises that any patient has to wait to be admitted. Delivery of the best possible care for the patient is our priority from the moment of presentation. Staff across the Group are working very hard to ensure the optimum care and safety of all our patients during this exceptionally busy period,” added the spokesperson.

She added that the older age profile of patients along with the complexity of issues that they have, was contributing to the increase in pressure in the emergency department.

UL Hospitals Group enacted their escalation plan to deal with the increase, which includes transferring patients to Ennis, Nenagh and St John’s Hospital, conducting extra rounds and transferring suitable patents to community care.


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