Croom rises to the challenge


KNOWN and respected by generations of Limerick people suffering from joint and bone difficulties, Croom Orthopaedic Hospital has taken on a whole new challenge since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Staff at the county Limerick hospital have made a major transition from helping surgical patients get back on their feet to dealing with medical care for the first time in almost 70 years.

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Initially, theatre staff at Croom were redeployed to University Hospital Limerick to support the anticipated surge in Covid-19 patients requiring intensive care.

When the surge instead manifested as a significant swell in non-Covid-19 admissions, the staff returned to their base in the county.

Assistant Director of Nursing in Croom, Katie Sheehan, is acutely aware of the scale of the challenge facing staff during the pandemic.

“There is a massive difference between medical care and surgical care. Surgical patients are ‘well’ but something has happened to them. There is a pattern: they come in, we treat them according to a plan, and they go home. Medical patients are ‘sick’. They can be very complex. It’s very different to what we’ve been accustomed to.”

Dr Sandy Fraser said he was delighted to step up and offer clinical coverage for medical patients in Croom.

“There was an amazing group effort. I have to pay tribute to the nurses. These are world class orthopaedic theatre nurses being asked to do something they hadn’t done in 30 years, which is to look after medical patients on wards.” he said.