A 70-YEAR-old woman spent almost five days on a trolley in the emergency department of the University Hospital Limerick last week.
This coincided with the release of figures by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) showing that 1,404 patients were forced to wait on trolleys at UHL in September.
On Wednesday. the hospital had the highest ever numbers on trolleys with 82 patients waiting for beds.
Alona Troy, (40) from Bruree in Limerick took her elderly mother to UHL on Monday, September 23, suffering from an infection associated with a chronic illness.
But severe overcrowding and demand on services saw Ms Troy’s elderly mother having to wait for 105 hours to get a bed in the hospital proper, despite doctors saying that she needed to be admitted.
“Mam was brought into the hospital by ambulance after she contracted an infection, these can be life-threatening and it’s happened before,” Ms Troy said in an interview with the on-line Breaking News service.
“It became obvious when we got there that she wouldn’t be getting a bed as it was overcrowded, and as the week went on it got so much worse.
“My mother couldn’t walk at the time, she had to be wheeled to the bathroom, the whole trolley, so that means everybody near her had to be moved.
“We couldn’t wash her, I had a few times where I just broke down in tears.
“People were getting heart traces done in the corridor, people who had had heart attacks, strokes, dementia, everything has to be discussed out in the corridor, everyone knows each other’s medical records.
“The nurses and staff are amazing, I don’t know how they do it,” she said.
In response to Ms Troy’s account, a hospital spokesman said the emergency department at UHL was dealing with a high numbers of presentations over recent days and weeks, including a significant number of frail, elderly patients.
“To protect patient confidentiality, UL Hospitals Group is unable to discuss individual cases publicly, but our staff are happy to liaise with any patient or their family directly”.