'appalled' | 

Pensioner (70) recounts her 57-hour hell on chair in Cork University Hospital

Patricia McCarthy was on oxygen as she waited on a chair in the hospital for over two days with a serious blood clot in her lung

Maeve McTaggartSunday World

A pensioner has revealed how she endured a gruelling 57-hour wait on a chair at Cork University Hospital.

70-year-old Patricia McCarthy was admitted to A&E on News Year’s Day after having difficulty breathing.

She waited on a chair in the hospital for over two days with a serious blood clot in her lung.

"What I witnessed, I am appalled,” the woman told The Neil Prendeville Show on Cork's RedFM.

Patricia was forced to use her jacket as a pillow on the chair in a hub adjacent to A&E.

“There’s trolleys, there’s petitions, the working conditions for the nurses and the doctors in that hub,” recalled Patricia who is still a patient in CUH, although she now has a bed.

The Cork woman compared the state of facilities for patients to “telephone boxes” as no one had any privacy.

She asked how politicians could have “allowed” this to happen.

"We had a Celtic Tiger one time and it roared,” Patricia said, “now that little Celtic Tiger is sitting whining.”

The woman revealed how she has not slept since Sunday, although she praised the staff who she said did all they could in the conditions she described.

“I went in a bright 70-year-old,” Patricia added. “I’m coming out of it an old woman.

"If I was an animal, I’d have a tag and I’d be treated better.”

Patricia also questioned the level of health and safety in the hospital system, saying she is “sick” of it.

"Pay your doctors, pay your staff,” she said, describing the workers as “beautiful” and “hard-working.”

She said she watched patients get extremely upset in the hub which was very difficult to watch.

“Humiliation, degradation, I could go into all the feelings,” Patricia said, adding that she did not feel heard until she spoke out on radio.

The woman’s story comes as Health Minister Stephen Donnelly revealed this week that the situation in hospitals will “likely” get worse.

The number of people waiting on a hospital bed hit a record high on Tuesday, with 931 patients across the country lying on trolleys.

Patients have reported spending up to nine days on trolleys and having to sleep on floors, while one woman who was kicked in the face by a horse told the Irish Independent she was waiting 14 hours just to get an X-ray.

Speaking at Beaumont Hospital, the minister said the overcrowding surge is due to a “perfect storm” of Covid, RSV and a very severe wave of the flu, which he said had “absorbed” a lot of the additional capacity put into the system in recent years.

Mr Donnelly said there has been “unprecedented” investment in the health service recently but admitted there was a “permanent deficit” in capacity of the public health system.


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