Amputee stranded in Limerick Emergency Department

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AN 86-year-old amputee was left on a trolley at the new University Hospital Limerick Emergency Department (UHL) having lost a leg, without the use of a hoist to get him in and out.

Another woman suffering from sepsis was left 55 hours on a trolley, as there was no bed for her.

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These are just two of the shocking stories revealed in an RTE report on the Limerick hospital’s A&E aired this week.

Sinn Fein TD for Limerick, Maurice Quinlivan feels the scenes and stories described, whilst shocking and totally unacceptable, are not surprising.

“This report into the conditions in the new A&E facility at University Hospital Limerick made for difficult listening on RTE radio. Reporter Brian O’Connell spent Friday night in the new €25 million Emergency Department in UHL and described the high level of overcrowding and conveyed stories from some of the patients lying on trollies,” said Deputy Quinlivan.

“One of the patients interviewed had arrived into the A&E on Wednesday morning suffering from sepsis. She said she was seen within 10 minutes of arriving, but 55 hours later, she was still lying on a trolley in the A&E, as there was no bed.

“Another patient, who was 86-years-old, was lying on a trolley, but could not move, as previously he had one leg amputated and there was no hoist to get him in and out of the trolley,” he explained. “It’s disgraceful,” he said.

UHL was the most overcrowded hospital in the country for the past two months, according to INMO figures — with 640 people in June and 662 in July, waiting on trolleys or wards.

“The 400-bed hospital is at capacity and construction on the new planned 96-bed extension has not even begun. This crisis continues to escalate and immediate action is needed before a serious incident occurs.

“The old Emergency Department should be reopened with additional staff and beds to accommodate some patients as a temporary measure until a permanent fixture is put in place,” the Deputy said.

Deputy Quinlivan has called on Health Minister Simon Harris to urgently outline how he is going to address this crisis in UHL.

In a statement to the Limerick Post, UL Hospitals said that the Emergency Department in University Hospital Limerick is the busiest in the country with over 64,000 attendances in 2016. A spokesperson revealed that plans to open a 17-bed short stay unit for medical patients in the old ED are well advanced and it is expected the unit will open in the near future.

“The numbers presenting continues to increase year-on-year and of those presenting, the proportion requiring admission, including many frail elderly patients, has also increased.

“The new ED has designated spaces for 49 patients and admitted patients waiting for a bed are often in single rooms or designated bays. While patients still face long delays in the new ED, it provides for a much-improved patient experience compared to the old department. The number of designated beds/cubicles has increased, the number for “minor” injuries has increased from 3 to 10; majors from seven to 12; paediatrics from six to eight; CDU from nine to 12 and adult resus bays from three to seven. Triage times have also improved which means that patients are being seen quicker by clinicians.”

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