Woman (101) spends 26 hours on trolley in Tallaght hospital

Patient given transfusion in emergency department while waiting for bed

The entrance to Tallaght hospital. The hospital has expressed regret over a delay which resulted in a 102-year-old woman spending more than 26 hours on a trolley in its emergency department this week. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

The entrance to Tallaght hospital. The hospital has expressed regret over a delay which resulted in a 102-year-old woman spending more than 26 hours on a trolley in its emergency department this week. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

 

Tallaght hospital has expressed regret over a delay which resulted in a 101-year-old woman spending more than 26 hours on a trolley in its emergency department this week.

The woman was brought to the hospital at 2pm on Monday and was diagnosed with heart problems and a low blood count. After initial treatment, she was placed on a trolley in the department, where she remained until she was moved to a bed at 5pm the following day.

The woman, who has a history of heart attack, arthritis and high blood pressure, was given a blood transfusion while on the trolley in the emergency department. Up to 14 other patients were on trolleys in the department at the same time. Staff who were present say they are appalled at having to treat the woman in a public area with constant light and noise, so that very little sleep was possible.

‘Vulnerable’

The woman, who was lucid throughout, has said she may make a complaint to President Michael D Higgins about her treatment.

The hospital said it could not comment on individual cases but was aware of a delay caused by “demand pressures” in allocating a ward bed to an elderly patient on Monday and that it “regrets any inconvenience experienced”.

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Hospital staff are concerned the planned curtailment of emergency department services at Portlaoise will have a knock-on effects on other hospitals unless they are provided with extra resources.

Minister for Health Leo Varadkar last April promised “zero tolerance” if anyone had to wait more than 24 hours in emergency and said it was a reportable event to the national hospital director.

The woman is not the first centenarian to be left waiting for admittance to the hospital for long periods; last year, a 100-year-old woman spent 24 hours on a trolley in the emergency department.

There were 10 patients on trolleys in Tallaght yesterday and 18 more on extra beds in the wards, according to the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation’s TrolleyWatch.