Elderly woman (93) waits 25 hours on a chair in Dublin A&E

‘Surely we can afford people some dignity when they are in an extremely vulnerable position’

Photo of Gladys Cummins (93) who went to Dublin’s Mater A&E on Monday afternoon. 25 hours later she was still in a chair waiting to be seen, according to her daughter. (Photograph: Dee Cummins/Facebook)

Photo of Gladys Cummins (93) who went to Dublin’s Mater A&E on Monday afternoon. 25 hours later she was still in a chair waiting to be seen, according to her daughter. (Photograph: Dee Cummins/Facebook)

 

A 93-year-old woman was left waiting on a chair for 25 hours in the emergency department of a Dublin hospital.

Gladys Cummins went to the Mater University Hospital’s emergency department on Monday afternoon.

She was in a nursing home in April and had been living independently up until recently.

Ms Cummins daughter Dee Cummins said she and her two siblings waited with their mother while she was the emergency department, as they did not feel it was safe to leave her alone.

“My mother went into A&E at 2.15pm. She was left in a chair for 25 hours. She was moved from a wheelchair to the chair and back onto a wheelchair again, as she’s not mobile,” she told RTÉ Radio One.

“We wrapped blankets around her because she was in a corridor and there was a draught. Every time the paramedics came in there was a draught.”

“She doesn’t have dementia but at that time she was in and out of lucidity. She was fretting over the fact she wanted to get home, saying ‘why am I here?’. It was tough to calm her. We couldn’t leave her,” she said.

Ms Cummins said there were several elderly people there. She took a photograph of her mother in the chair and put it on Facebook.

“I felt people needed to see this. We talk a lot, between housing and healthcare, but nobody does anything. Rather than be a procrastinator and do nothing, I got up and took a photograph, put in on Facebook and asked people to share it.

“I thought of a Facebook page called the Long Wait. People can put photos of their relatives on this page and the amount of time they spent waiting to see a medic,” she said.

“I was hoping [Minister for Health] Simon Harris might do something about it. We know there is no easy solution but surely we can afford people some dignity when they are in an extremely vulnerable position,” she said.

She said she received many responses from people who have had a similar situation with an elderly relative or loved one after posting the photo.

“One girl told me her father died in a corridor in A&E and she screamed for him to get some dignity. There are hundreds of thousands of similar stories. The Government is not up to the job obviously. It’s not just Simon Harris. We have a Taoiseach and Tánaiste and Minister for Finance, in control of the purse. It’s about them all,” she said.

“I think it’s bureaucracy...The money is going into administration costs more than the feet on the ground in the hospital. My mother was in a newly built A&E. It’s not big enough. They are still sitting on chairs in corridors,” she said.

Ms Cummins said her mother was receiving treatment on the geriatric ward and was currently waiting on results.

The Mater has apologised to any patients who had faced long delays in the last 48 hours.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the HSE said any delay experienced by patients was regretted.