Privacy and patients on trolleys
Sir, – I was disappointed to read of the complaint by a 77-year old patient, recorded in a large HSE patient satisfaction survey, that he or she was examined with little or no privacy by a doctor while on a trolley on a hospital corridor (“Half of hospital patients report difficulty finding staff to discuss ‘worries and fears’”, News, December 12th), It seems clear that the doctor should have arranged that the patient be moved into the nearest empty room or office prior to being examined. It would have cost nothing in financial terms to ensure the patient’s privacy, although it might have delayed the doctor for a few moments.
The Irish Medical Council ethical guidelines are quite clear in stating that doctors should treat patients with dignity, respect and privacy. The HSE has a duty to ensure that its doctors work within those ethical guidelines. In the case of the 77 year-old patient, clearly neither the doctor and the HSE lived up to the standard expected. I hope that both parties will learn from the information gleaned in the survey, and steps will be put in place in each hospital to make a room available for examination of patients on trolleys. – Yours, etc,