Drogheda hospital: ‘It is wall-to-wall trolleys’

Visitors to A&E at Our Lady of Lourdes hospital describe the ‘shocking’ conditions

"It is wall-to-wall trolleys," said Des Perkins outside Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda, Co Louth on Tuesday.

He was there with his niece Meghan to collect his mother Rose (Meghan’s grandmother), who had been in the emergency department since tea time on Monday and who was being allowed home.

Ms Perkins had been brought to the hospital with stomach pains and spent about 17 hours in A&E.

Her son said he was “shocked” at the overcrowding and described it as “wall-to-wall trolleys.”


His mother has dementia and, said her son, she found the environment “confusing. The only privacy is the curtains that they pull around,” he said.

The department had been badly overcrowded, said Meghan, but by lunchtime yesterday it was “calming down. They put a call out last night [Monday] that they weren’t taking anybody in from about half eight.”

One woman, who did not want to be identified, was visiting her 85-year-old neighbour in the emergency department and said, “It is crazy [in there], it is like a cattle market really.”

She said, “Everybody is on trolleys and people are not able to sit down. I don’t even know if she [her neighbour] was fed or not yet. It is not the care – they are doing the best they can with limited resources.”

Another woman who was a patient and had just left the department without having all the tests done that had been requested by doctors said, “The nurses and doctors are fantastic but the overcrowding is unbelievable. I was lying on a trolley, I couldn’t even get a pillow. I had pains in my chest.”

She said she decided to go home because, “The overcrowding is so bad, I could be a week waiting on a bed lying on a trolley.”

Lorraine Shanley from Stamullen had gone to the hospital with her daughter Jennifer (15) and was treated in the paediatric section of the emergency department on Sunday and said she got a bed quickly.

Yesterday the INMO industrial relations officer for the North East, Tony Fitzpatrick, said "there were three children waiting overnight [on Monday] on trolleys in the paediatric ED for beds: two of the children were under six months; that is a new low."

He said that yesterday evening there were 34 people on trolleys in the emergency department and, including those on trolleys on wards elsewhere in the hospital, there were 70 people waiting for beds.

“All the children got beds,” he confirmed.