Conditions in the Emergency Department of Cork University Hospital (CUH) have been described as “third world” by patients' families.
CUH was the second most overcrowded hospital in the country today, with 56 patients on trolleys.
There were 760 patients without a bed nationally – the worst-ever figure since records began.
Speaking to The Echo at the Emergency Department at CUH today, a number of people highlighted their disgust at elderly family members being left on trolleys waiting for necessary tests and treatment.
One Carrigaline man had been on a trolley since he was admitted following a seizure at 2am on Sunday morning.
The 82-year-old was waiting for an MRI scan, and his family told The Echo they expected to be waiting for some time yet.
“If they MRI’d him any time on Sunday we could have been home, and another sick patient could have the bed. There’s no MRI even after being ordered.
"He wasn’t on the list at all, so he’s another night on the trolley and another night bed-blocking,” his daughter-in-law told The Echo.
“The nurse said she can’t refer him so now she’s trying to get on to the consultants' team for them to book the MRI. She can’t just say that his consultant wants it. It has to come from the consultant,” she added.
Meanwhile, the man’s son said the only way to get hospitals back up and running is to ensure all services are available to patients around the clock.
“This is third world stuff, and it’s getting worse,” he said.
“I know it sounds strange to say, but when there was a huge backlog for the NCT, I went out to get my car done at 3:30am.
"They had to get rid of the backlog, and that’s how they did it. Now you’ve got a choice of times and dates because they got it together. It’s the same here.
"They need to get rid of the backlog. On top of that, they need to start paying people properly as well. The nurses are under savage pressure,” he said.
Meanwhile, a woman from Passage West was also sitting with her 84-year-old mother.
The elderly lady had experienced a mild stroke.
She was admitted to the emergency department at about 2pm on Sunday afternoon, and was still on a trolley in the corridor on Monday evening.
While there were blood tests and a CT scan carried out, she was also still waiting for an MRI. No one knew when a bed would become available for her.
“It’s just so humiliating for her. It’s upsetting to see your mother in that situation. The staff are doing their best, you can’t be hassling them,” her daughter told The Echo.
“I swear to God, I’m waiting for the politicians to come to my door, they’re living in their own little bubble.
"If the Minister for Health said he was coming down they’d have this place cleared, whereas if he did a spot check he’d actually get to see it.
"Nobody is being held accountable. I think we’re too quiet as a nation,” she added.
“Over the years it’s getting worse and worse, and they talk about us being first world,” she scoffed. “They’re so busy that mistakes must be made.”