No end in sight for UHL trolley crisis

News By David Raleigh

PATIENTS continue to languish on trolleys in cramped conditions at University Hospital Limerick (UHL) which remained the most overcrowded hospital in the country again this week.
One of the worst cases was that of an 83 year old woman, left for six hours sitting on a wet pad in urine soaked clothes on a chair in the hospital’s main reception area.
Her daughter claimed she asked staff at 9.45pm to tend to her elderly mother’s catheter bag which had become loose and needed changing, but it was 3.50am the following morning before staff managed to help.
“They gave me some kind of pad and told her to sit on that. But her clothes we’re wet and her coat was wet – it was sopping, it was disgusting.”
“She was soaked, there was urine everywhere. She wasn’t on a trolley, she was in the waiting room on the chair. It was wet everywhere.”
Last Sunday afternoon the patient was rushed back to UHL after taking a fall at her home, and despite having a suspected broken bone in her back, she was still waiting on a trolley for over 24 hours.
“It’s madness, its ridiculous. Last night they didn’t even have trolleys, people were sitting on chairs, any little space they could find at the end of trolleys,” the woman’s daughter added.
Despite the ordeal she praised the “brilliant” staff for doing their best.
She also praised UHL for treating her family with “unbelievably good care” when her sister and her father both passed away at the hospital.
73-year-old John Monaghan was taken to the hospital by ambulance from his home in Ennis at 11.30am Sunday.
Despite being seriously ill, he was still in the Limerick ED, waiting on a trolley, “praying” for a bed, more than 24 hours later.
“We are just squeezing past people in the corridors. I feel sorry for the staff. Genuinely, the staff are trying their hardest in there. It’s crazy, it really is,” Mr Monaghan’ son John Monaghan junior said.
“They are trying to fit oxygen bottles to people in the corridors.
“The staff are just thrown to the wolves.“
Mr Monaghan jnr, who travelled to the hospital from his home in Belfast, said his father was suffering with “fluid on the lungs, breathing difficulty” and was diagnosed with cancer last week.
“His lips went blue and they rushed him in. He had kidney failure, but he’s had a kidney transplant so he’s attending Renal for that, and he was diagnosed with cancer on Tuesday.”
“He has all that going on and now this here. He’s mixed emotions – one minute he’s okay and the next he asks am I better off going,” he added.
Noreen Keane (76) from Rhebogue, attended the hospital at 8.30pm Sunday night complaining of severe pain.
The Limerick grandmother eventually got a bed in a single room nine hours later.
“We are kind of the lucky ones,” her daughter Karen Ryan remarked.
“It’s ridiculous in there. It’s like a cattle market, there are trolleys everywhere. You’re standing over trolleys to get into the room, it’s madness,” she said.
A spokesman for the UL Hospitals Group urged the public to “consider all care options before attending the Emergency Department (ED) at University Hospital Limerick (UHL).”
The hospital group was “appropriately transferring patients to other hospitals” and patients were “receiving expert medical care (with) every effort being made to make their stay as comfortable as possible”.
The spokesman also urged people “to consider all available care options and not attend the ED at UHL unless absolutely necessary”.
“We regret that any patient has to wait on a trolley for admission. This is not the level of service we wish to provide but we want to reassure the public that every effort is made to move patients to a bed as soon as possible.”

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