The head of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) is calling for better security in hospitals in the wake of the Joe McCarron case at Letterkenny University Hospital.
The late Joe McCarron (aged 67), from Dungloe, died from Covid-19 last week.
Mr McCarron had been receiving treatment for Covid-19 at Letterkenny University Hospital, but on 14th September, he rejected medical advice and self-discharged himself. Video footage of the event shows Mr McCarron being allegedly encouraged to leave by a campaigner who is believed to be a Covid-denier.
Medical staff were filmed pleading with Mr McCarron to stay in hospital care, as they feared for his condition. Mr McCarron was readmitted to hospital two days later. He passed away last Friday.
Speaking on Today with Claire Byrne, INMO General secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha said that hospital staff across the country need greater protection from anti-vaccination groups.
“I really think that the issue for us right now is the security and information,” Ms Ní Sheaghdha said. “Security to ensure that the incident that happened in Letterkenny is not repeated.”
“We’ve asked the HSE to ensure that they have security measures in place that prevents that, because healthcare workers are busy enough. They do not need to be dealing with misinformation and that type of behaviour towards very sick and vulnerable people.”
“It’s very frightening,” Ms Ní Sheaghdha added. “From my observation of the video that the healthcare workers acted very professionally. They spoke directly to the patient. They asked him to reconsider.”
Security has to be reviewed in all settings, she said, because the incidence of assaults has increased.
“We have Covid care and non-Covid care and we have real concerns around the reduction in staff because staff are trying to provide two services and the increase in assault and verbal abuse that members are facing.”
Gardaí are currently investigating the incident in which Joe McCarron appeared to have been encouraged to leave Letterkenny University Hospital. Gardaí were also in attendance at Mr McCarron’s funeral in Dungloe on Sunday, after a report was made to them of a number of mourners not wearing facemasks in church.