Kate’s journey to recovery started at the minor injuries unit

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Kate Gilroy, a former patient of the Minor Injuries Unit at St John's Hospital.

WHEN a granite counter top crashed on to Kate Gilroy’s foot during renovations to the kitchen of her home in Cratloe, the short journey to the minor injuries unit at St John’s Hospital in Limerick City proved to be a vital step on the road to a full recovery.

Kate was one of more than 12,000 patients who attended the unit at St John’s and her experience illustrates the advantages of a medical facility that is providing a viable alternative to the overcrowded emergency department at University Hospital Limerick.

While the emergency department is the go-to destination for life threatening incidents, the injury unit at St John’s is open and fully operational every day for all minor injuries such as sprains, breaks or burns.

Recalling her visit to the injuries unit, mother-of-three Kate recalled, “I was in shock, and didn’t know what to do. I was panicking, because I knew I needed help. Luckily, I have a relative who works in healthcare and was able to tell me that the Injury Unit at St John’s Hospital was the best place to go.

The unit is staffed by an expert team of three full-time Registered Advanced Nurse Practitioners and one trainee. Led by Dr Gareth Quinn, a senior Consultant in Emergency Medicine, the team provides timely treatment for injuries that are non-threatening to life or limb, but which still require expert and prompt medical attention.

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A few months after the accident and following her treatment at St. John’s, Kate was on the road to recovery. Her standout memory of the experience was the professionalism and efficiency of the staff in the Injury Unit.

She said: ”When we got to St John’s the first surprise was the access, and the fact that we were able to drive right up to the front door. Given the injury, that was really important. Also, they saw me straight away.

“At that point, my foot was just dripping in blood. What really surprised me was how quickly the staff took control and immediately put me at my ease.”

Kate has had some follow up appointments with the Injury Unit and has fully recovered from the incident.

Suzanne Lynch, a Registered Advanced Nurse Practitioner who was on duty on the day of Kate’s accident, said that people should take all injuries, even minor ones, seriously and receive medical attention immediately.

“One of the things we’ve noticed in the past year, is people not presenting with injuries early. If you have an injury such as a cut, or a sprain or a burn, for example, it’s important to get it attended to sooner rather than later,” she added.

The Injury Unit is open seven days, 365 days a year and no appointment is necessary.