A Donegal woman today spoke on RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta of her family’s distress after their elderly mother, a cancer patient, spent 14 hours on a trolley in Letterkenny Hospital A&E.
Speaking of her mother’s experience, Bríd Nic Suibhne told the Barrscéalta programme on Raidió na Gaeltachta today that her mother ‘was just a number’.
Máire Uí Dhomhnaill from Gaoth Dobhair was brought to hospital at 5 pm on Monday evening, and had to wait overnight on a trolley until 7 am the following morning before getting a bed.
“My mother had blood taken, and had to answer personal questions, sitting on trolley in a hallway in A&E. She had no privacy at all.
“She was just a number. I asked where she was on the list to be seen and I was told she was fifth. Two and a half hours later, she was fourth.’
“We were told that if my mother got sick, she was to come straight to the hospital to oncology. Everyone knows that cancer patients undergoing treatment need to be protected from picking up other illnesses. It’s very dangerous. We have been told that an illness like a cold or pneumonia could kill her.’
“This is our story today, but tomorrow it will be somebody else’s.”
Bríd praised the work of doctors and nurses who do their very best in very difficult circumstances, but questioned the management of the hospital.
“There is something very wrong with the system. Why does my mother have to go through A&E when she gets sick? She should be able to go directly to oncology where her own doctors can look after her. What do the politicians and the health service managers have to say on this?’
Bríd Nic Suibhne was speaking today on Barrscéalta on RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta.
A short time ago Donegal Sinn Féin TDs, Pádraig Mac Lochlainn and Pearse Doherty said they are urgently attempting to raise the renewed crisis at the Accident and Emergency Ward of Letterkenny General Hospital with the Minister for Health, James Reilly.
They have expressed their serious concern at news that emergency patients from the southern half of the county are being diverted to Sligo Regional Hospital and that there was an attempt to divert emergency patients from Inishowen to Altnagelvin Hospital in Derry.
They said: “There is clearly a staffing crisis at Letterkenny General Hospital that has now inevitably impacted on patients across Donegal. We are calling on the Minister to remove the moratorium on the hiring of nurses and other medical professionals at the hospital.
“The team at Letterkenny General Hospital have been heroic in their response to the flooding crisis last year and it is frankly disgraceful that the moratorium enforced by this Government has increased the hugely stressful circumstances they have to work in.
“We are also seriously concerned at the impact on other Departments throughout the hospital due to the shortage of nurses and other medical professionals up to consultant level. Many staff are working long hours that saps their morale”.
“There is also the issue of how Specialist Registrars, so crucial to hospitals, are allocated to Letterkenny General. As we revealed last year, based on the number of inpatients being served by the hospital every year, Letterkenny General receives the lowest budget allocation in the state and is allocated the lowest number of medical professionals from the system in the state.
“This injustice has to stop and we intend to raise this matter urgently with the Minister and confront this injustice head on again”.