An 83-year-old woman was left sitting in a wheelchair facing the wall in the emergency department at Cork University Hospital for 12 hours last Friday night, according to a patient at the hospital.
CUH has witnessed some of the most severe conditions in its history in recent days, with one consultant saying it was the worst he had ever seen.
A status black escalation was issued at CUH on Monday which means the hospital was at maximum capacity and deemed unsafe to admit further patients.
Almost 180 patients have been awaiting beds at CUH since Monday.
That night saw up to eight ambulances lined up outside the hospital, with one waiting more than four hours to release a patient into the hospital’s care.
Patients have described the “mayhem” that unfolded at Cork University Hospital in recent days.
One patient who was in the emergency department on Friday night and again on Monday morning described it as “mad”.
“On Friday evening, an 83-year-old woman came in in a wheelchair and she was left sitting there facing the wall for 12 hours straight before she was seen,” he told The Echo.
“I was in on Friday for 12 or 13 hours but it wasn’t too bad for me on Monday; I was seen in about four hours because they knew me from Friday.
“Every single seat was taken, the whole place was backed up outside the door and there was a queue of people out the door trying to get to administration.
“You could see the amount of ambulances backed up, the corridor was full of emergency services working on people,” he said.
“It was mayhem. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Knocknaheeny native Jennifer O’Connor has been at the hospital for the past four days with her six-month-old son Jay.
“It’s very busy, we’re hearing stories about how busy it’s been. They seem to be understaffed, really.”
Cork man William Fitton attended CUH in recent days for an outpatient appointment. He said it had been busy but staff seem to have worked through it.
West Cork native Michael McCarthy, who attended the hospital to visit his wife, added yesterday that things seemed to have calmed down.
“We had no delays as such but we had heard that it has been very busy.”
A spokesperson confirmed to The Echo that both Minister Simon Harris and Minister Jim Daly held a teleconference call with CUH management on Tuesday afternoon to discuss the situation.
“The numbers presenting to the hospital emergency department in CUH this week were at record high levels with no one apparent cause for the increase,” said Mr Daly.