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91-year-old woman waited 13 hours for a bed before being discharged

by Stephen Maguire

A 91-year-old woman waited in an accident and emergency room for 13 hours waiting for a bed before being discharged.

The woman, who was suffering severe stomach pains, arrived at Letterkenny University Hospital in Co Donegal at 1.50pm and was forced to leave at 3am the following morning.

The woman was attended to by two doctors but did not receive a bed and was eventually discharged.

Her family have highlighted the incident which occurred on Monday/Tuesday in a bid to stop such an incident from happening again.

Local county councillor Jack Murray, who was contacted by the woman's family, says a priority list must be put in place for people who are especially vulnerable.

"I think we have to accept that the situation at Letterkenny Hospital is horrendous but there are no excuses why a 91-year-old woman has to be forced to wait 13 hours to be seen.

"It's different if I go in as a young man with a football injury but people of this age should not be forced to wait in pain.

"We should consider a priority waiting list so that the elderly or the especially vulnerable can be attended to quicker," he said.

Cllr Murray said the woman's relatives said they contacted him in a bid to highlight the conditions staff are being forced to work in at the hospital.

However, he said he wanted to stress that the woman's family were in no way blaming staff at the hospital for the woman's marathon waiting time.

"They contacted me as they want to simply highlight what is going on but we all know that is happening on a daily basis.

"They wanted to stress that they are in no way blaming the staff as they were nothing but professional and courteous to the woman," he added.

This week the hospital issued a public appeal asking people not to attend the accident and emergency ward unless it was absolutely necessary and to attend their GP instead.