Nenagh area councillors were appalled last week when they were told about the conditions in A&E at University Hospital Limerick.
The revelation of people being left on trolleys while others died around them was recounted by Cllr Seamus Morris following his call to Tipperary County Council via a notice of motion to ask Minister for Health Leo Varadkar to expedite the equipping and staffing for the hospital’s new Emergency Department to make it fully operational.
Cllr Morris read out an email from a Nenagh man who was taken to Limerick after suffering a dislocated ankle and three broken bones.
After his injuries were seen to, Alec McCormack said he then “experienced the horror of our health system and its failure to cope”.
“There wasn’t five inches between each trolley. The main thing that upset me most was the dignity and privacy of us, as patients, was left at the entrance door,” he wrote.
Mr McCormack said he heard one elderly lady being told she could possibly lose a toe, while another elderly woman was told of a serious back operation she needed.
He said that people were waiting five hours for X-rays, while paramedics waited a hours for their trolleys back as there wasn’t enough trolleys in the hospital.
“In my 25 hours waiting for a bed plus an operation I witnessed three unfortunate people pass away, and, while lying right outside the door I could see staff (who worked tirelessly) trying to resuscitate one patient. I found this disturbing,” wrote Mr McCormack.
He said that one nurse had told him she was leaving after 11 years because she couldn’t cope with it anymore. “I would like to point out how great all staff work there and how they work under such stress is amazing and they are a credit to their profession,” he said.
Mr McCormack said he had no preference to any political party nor was his email a personal attack on anyone in particular.
“My immediate concern is that we have a Third World health system that needs fixing immediately,” he said.
Cllr Morris said that every year they were being told the system would get better, but every year it got worse.
Cllr Joe Hannigan said he knew of someone left waiting for one week for an MRI scan.
“People’s lives are at risk and we as a council should do what we can to alleviate the suffering people are going through,” he said.
Cllr John Carroll said that it was “frightening” for old people to be left in A&E beside people who were intoxicated.
Cllr Michael O’Meara said people in Lower Ormond were afraid they would be sent to Limerick and those in Borrisokane were requesting their GPS to refer them to Tullamore.