Forty-eight hours in A&E

 

Sir, – I spent 48 hours in a Dublin A&E department after an accident at the Ideal Homes exhibition.

Staff, a paramedic and two young women at the exhibition were wonderful and quick to respond.

The crew of the ambulance called were cheerful and kind.

Then I arrived at what was termed “a quiet time” in A&E. It looked very busy to me, with trolleys and beds in every available space.

I was treated very well by Dr Eleanor who soothed my frazzled mind and battered body, and who kindly persuaded me to stay – I needed a bit of persuasion.

I watched excellent, calm security men keep one very large, agitated man – who went from thumping the wall in his room to laughing and talking to them – safe and relaxed, with tremendous skill and sensitivity all night until he finally fell asleep.

I witnessed elderly people who had fallen with black eyes, or cuts to their head given reassurance and treatment. One woman, a fine age of 104, was beside me.

I saw elderly demented patients given one-to-one supervision and help to keep them calm.

I was given tea and sandwiches by a West Indian Gaelic speaking (learning) carer who was proud of his skill and I expected him to dance a jig any moment.

A visitor took my mobile phone to the charging unit in the A&E waiting area and although her relative had gone to the ward she returned an hour later with my much-needed phone three-quarters charged.

I was blessed with a proper bed (not trolley) as my spine is fairly disintegrated but I was moved five times, from one place to another, by busy porters doing a brilliant job.

After a four-hour wait, I was X-rayed by lovely radiologists.

I was assessed on Monday by Dr Rosa (consultant) and physiotherapist as to my safety to return home (I have a neuro-muscular degenerative disease) and declared fit enough, thank God.

We should deeply appreciate our nurses, doctors, porters, security staff, radiologists, physiotherapist, care staff and cleaners in our hospitals. A large proportion are from overseas and without them we’d be sunk.

It is terrible that we lose skilled people, who leave Ireland due to pay and conditions – and the conditions are clearly not good.

We should ask our Government what they are going to do to save our public hospitals, to give Irish patients and their staff in public hospitals a decent 21st- century hospital experience.

While I experienced a very good two days in A&E this weekend, this is not always the case. My last visit to the same A&E just before Christmas was dire. So dire I had to be fairly strongly encouraged to go back there on Saturday. We should not be terrified of attending our A&E departments.

But for now I will thank all the staff who cared for me last weekend and them and wish blessings upon them for their Trojan work. – Yours, etc,

Dr MARGARET KENNEDY,

Greystones, Co Wicklow.