MAYO University Hospital’s emergency department has so far escaped the major overcrowding crisis that has beset some of the country’s larger hospitals, including University College Hospital Galway.
A number of hospitals around the country were swamped as they struggled to cope with the number of patients being admitted to the emergency departments. For two days in a row, more than 600 patients languished on trolleys in emergency departments throughout the country.
The Irish Nurses and Midwives Association’s Trolley Watch monitors the number of patients on trolleys in emergency departments, while its Ward Watch monitors the number of patients on beds, trolleys or chairs in inpatient wards/units above the stated capacity of that ward/unit.
Last Thursday was MUH’s busiest day in the last week, with a total of eleven patients recorded on trolleys in the Emergency Department or using beds in inpatient wards. On Friday, that number had been reduced to five, while yesterday (Monday) it was down to one.
In contrast, UCHG was inundated, with one woman describing the conditions in the Emergency Department as ‘inhumane’.
Mary Corbett-Joyce from Clifden brought her 94-year-old father to the ED with a septic foot on Tuesday last, January 3, when 40 patients were recorded on trolleys.
“On arrival at the A&E in Galway, I was stunned by the overcrowding,” she said. “When we did receive a trolley in A&E, as we were out in the public waiting room, we had to wait for seven hours on the corridor of the A&E. I had no problem with waiting, but it was truly inhumane. The trolleys were lined up on both walls of the corridor with very ill and many elderly patients,” she said.
Ms Corbett-Joyce said her father was left for 13 hours without anyone examining his foot, and in total they were in the hospital for 21 hours.
“I feel so sad for both the patients and medical staff. As regards my Dad, I pray he has not picked up any infection from surrounding patients, as it would most certainly kill him,” she said.