Hospital apologises to woman (101) left on trolley for 26 hours

Tallaght hospital pledges to bring in measures to reduce risk of repeat incident

Tallaght hospital expressed regret after a 102-year-old woman waited for  26-hours on a hospital trolley in its emergency department.

Tallaght hospital expressed regret after a 102-year-old woman waited for 26-hours on a hospital trolley in its emergency department.


Tallaght hospital has apologised for leaving a 101-year-old patient over 26 hours on a trolley and says it will put in place measure to minimise the risk of it happening again.

Hospital management have met the family of the woman and conveyed their apologies to them directly, according to a spokesman.

“The hospital fully accepts no patient should be forced to wait for a bed and that priority should be given to elderly patients in allocation of beds. A review of the particular circumstance that gave rise to the unacceptable delays in this case is in process and appropriate measures are being put in place to mitigate the risk of recurrence.”

The spokesman blamed a number of factors for the delay in finding the woman a bed last Monday, including a peak in patient numbers after the Bank Holiday weekend and a 25 per cent rise in older patients presenting at the emergency department over the past two years.

However, one senior member of staff denied there was any surge in patients last Monday and described the incident as “an abuse of human rights”.

Emergency medicine consultant Dr Jim Gray described the length of time the woman was forced to stay on a trolley earlier this week as a “national disgrace”.

Meanwhile, Minister for Health Leo Varadkar has said he would contact the hospital’s chief executive over its failure to prioritise the woman for a bed.

Dr Gray said the woman was subjected to horrendous conditions, and suffered great indignity and lack of privacy in the emergency department, where she received a blood transfusion while on the trolley.

The hospital was experiencing overcrowding on an almost daily basis and there was no guarantee something similar wouldn’t happen again, according to Dr Gray.

Mr Varadkar said he joined Tallaght hospital in expressing regret for the fact the woman was left waiting on a trolley for so long.

He said it was not something that should happen in our health service, and stressed the importance of hospitals prioritising very elderly people when beds become available.

Mr Varadkar said he regretted that was not done in this case, and he would be in touch with the hospital’s chief executive over the matter. He wasn’t blaming the hospital, as it was under an awful lot of pressure.

Age Action described the experience of the woman, who has a history of heart attack, arthritis and high blood pressure, as a “horror story”.

It said the emergency ward was no place for a vulnerable older person to receive medical treatment. “Minister for Health Leo Varadkar promised earlier this year that there would be ‘zero tolerance’ if anyone is kept in an emergency department for more than 24 hours. We need to see these words followed up with actions,” said the organisation’s head of advocacy Justin Moran.

As reported by The Irish Times on Friday, the woman was brought to the hospital at 2pm on Monday and diagnosed with heart problems and a low blood count.

After initial treatment, she was placed on a trolley in the emergency department, where she remained until she was moved to a bed at 5pm the following day.

The Irish Patients Association said the woman would not have been forced to wait so long if she had attended a private hospital.

“If she had gone to a private hospital emergency department she’d probably have been tucked up in bed in an hour with a cup of tea and a Marietta biscuit,” said the organisation’s director Stephen McMahon.