87-year-old left sitting on hospital chair in Cork for two days with broken ribs

The Cork woman commended the work of the hospital's doctors, but said she felt the hospital was “dropping down" on basic care. 
87-year-old left sitting on hospital chair in Cork for two days with broken ribs

After falling in mid-February, Therese O’Mahony decided to go to the emergency department at Cork University Hospital as she thought she may have pulled a muscle.

AN 87-YEAR-OLD woman has spoken about what she described as a “lack of basic care” after she said she was left sitting on a chair at a Cork hospital for over 48 hours.

After falling in mid-February, Therese O’Mahony decided to go to the emergency department at Cork University Hospital as she thought she may have pulled a muscle.

She said that after arriving at the hospital at about 11am, she was seen by a doctor “not too long after”.

She commended the work of the doctors at the hospital, who she said did all the check-ups needed, and the physiotherapist, who recommended breathing exercises.

However, Ms O’Mahony said she felt where the hospital was “dropping down on is the basic care”.

She said that after her check-ups, it was found she had broken three ribs. Despite this, she was left sitting on a chair for over two days.

Woman worked as nurse for more than 40 years 

Ms O’Mahony, who worked as a nurse for 33 years at Our Lady’s in Cork before continuing to work for another 10 years at Shanakiel Hospital, said she could not believe the way she was treated while sitting in the same position on a chair for over two days.

She said the only place to leave her cup of tea was on the floor, which proved difficult when bending over with three broken ribs, and she said she was not offered any water.

“I went out looking for water because I was feeling so dehydrated. I met someone who was a member of staff and asked for a drink of water so she caught a bottle of water out of a basket and gave it to me. She didn’t say who are you or how are you or is everything alright — there was nothing, absolutely nothing.

“So, I went back and sat down again and this was around 4pm in the evening because I was after getting sandwiches and tea. I saw no one again until about 3am,” she said.

The following evening, she sought a cushion for some comfort from the hard chair and said that she was given a blanket “that was as hard as the chair”.

“The following morning, I wasn’t asked how are you or did you have a good night. I opened my mouth because I was so agitated. I was awake all night; there were children crying all night. They were coming into accident and emergency in the other department and were within hearing reach. I couldn’t sleep,” she said.

That evening she was moved to another room while awaiting her prescription before being discharged, arriving home at about 5pm. She said the only thing she had been given to eat that day was sandwiches and a cup of tea at 9am that morning.

“I was delighted to be at home. I could not understand why anyone could think of asking anyone to stay in there like that when they had no bed, unless you were very bad. It’s an awful situation and they don’t seem to ever do anything about it.

“I couldn’t imagine anyone doing that to someone, and as a ward sister myself there’s no way I would be pushing anyone to stay like that,” she said.

Increased activity at ED 

Speaking to The Echo, a spokesperson for Cork University Hospital (CUH) said: “Due to an increased level of activity at Cork University Hospital’s emergency department over the past number of weeks and subsequent admissions, it is regrettable that some patients may experience a delay in the emergency department.

“All emergency and time-critical care for the sickest patients are being prioritised.

“Patient care is paramount in CUH and this situation is being treated as a priority by hospital management, who have taken steps to address this issue. While the hospital cannot comment on individual cases, any patient who has concerns about their level of treatment/care received in the hospital can contact the quality and patient safety department directly.

“The quality and patient safety department will then arrange a review of the case.”

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