'Traumatised' after stay in CUH: Cork family describe 'chaotic' experience after mother, 88, left on trolley

'Traumatised' after stay in CUH: Cork family describe 'chaotic' experience after mother, 88, left on trolley
Bernadette Walshe's mother, who is 88, in her bed in Cork University Hospital.

A 90-year-old man who last week "begged" nurses to give his wife a bed in Cork University Hospital has spoken out about the ordeal with his family.

Bart Murphy's 88-year-old wife spent 54 hours on a trolley earlier this month, leading to their daughter - Bernadette Walshe - to speak out about hospital overcrowding last week.

Ms Walshe said her mother had been sent to the Bons Secours Hospital before being transferred to the CUH with a suspected stroke.

It was later found to be a respiratory problem and as of today, she is still in hospital.

RTÉ's Brian O'Connell told Today with Sean O'Rourke on Radio 1 that he went to visit the family after their story originally appeared in The Echo.

The couple's son, William, said when they brought their mother to the CUH, "it was chaotic inside there."

He said "there were people rushing around everywhere and there was trolleys everywhere. It was just too packed."

William said it wasn't long before his mother was seen, but she was on a trolley in a cubicle before being pushed into the corridor.

"See the problem on a trolley is you have no dignity. You have no privacy," he said.

"People are there and they're in pain. This is probably one of the main things that bugs them - they're in pain.

"And they're worrying...they have no privacy. And it upsets them."

He said: "She wasn't too bad when she was in the cubicle but then when she [was] pushed out into the corridor, what they did is they just moved the trolley. That's what she was on inside in the cubicle.

"So they just wheeled out and put her into the corridor. And of course naturally then she got upset."

He said while the doctors and nurses were rushed off their feet, it was difficult to see his father pleading for a bed for his mother.

91-year-old Bartholomew Murphy, from Ballincollig, who spent close to 20 hours on a trolley in CUH.
91-year-old Bartholomew Murphy, from Ballincollig, who spent close to 20 hours on a trolley in CUH.

William's father, Bart, who spent more than 20 hours on a trolley last year said the situation was "ridiculous".

He said the health service should be changed.

"You expect that they respect you at that age," he said.

When asked if the experience would make him afraid of going to a hospital or getting sick, he replied: "of course.

"You're not properly looked after."

Their daughter Bernadette said looking around the emergency room at the time was like looking at old photos of children in orphanages long ago.

"You know the archives they show you pictures of children in orphanages long ago in Ireland? It was like looking at an orphanage again, but this time it was elderly people," she said.

Bernadette said her mother was a staff nurse who fought for nurses' rights in the Dáil in the 80s.

"And my mother will tell you, nothing has changed in this country."

The family have called for elderly specific emergency departments after seeing A&E first hand.

Bernadette said people are living to be much older and the elderly are "more susceptible" to falls and picking up other diseases.

She said that her mother has "turned a corner" but the experience has "traumatised" her.

A spokesperson for the CUH said: "Cork University Hospital does not comment on individual patients."

They added that on February 7, " there was a high volume of presentations to the ED, and additional beds were opened to facilitate this.

"At Cork University Hospital, the decision to open additional beds is dependent on the availability of staff.

"This is reviewed by hospital management on an on-going basis."

Earlier today, the INMO revealed that 583 people are waiting for beds in Irish hospitals today.

University Hospital Limerick with 64 patients and Cork University Hospital, with 46, are the worst hit today.

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