'Agitated' | 

Pensioner forced to travel 16 miles to Drogheda despite living beside Navan Hospital

Nursing home staff and the man's family were left stunned when the two man crew insisted they were under orders to take him to Drogheda's Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital even though the Navan one was just 200 metres away.
Navan Hospital

Navan Hospital

Gerry HandSunday World

A pensioner had to endure a bumpy ride around country roads after a tumble in a nursing home on Friday night after an ambulance crew insisted they had been instructed to take him to a hospital sixteen miles away despite there being another hospital less than a minute’s drive from where he fell.

The 82-year-old man, who does not want to be identified, fell in the Beaufort Nursing home in Navan right beside Our Lady's Hospital, and had to endure an agonising wait as the nearest ambulance to him had to travel from Dublin.

And when it arrived, nursing home staff and the man's family were left stunned when the two man crew insisted they were under orders to take him to Drogheda's Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital even though the Navan one was just 200 metres away.

To make matters worse the main road between Navan and Drogheda is currently closed due to roadworks meaning that both the ambulance and the elderly man's 80-year-old sister who was following it in her car had to drive extra miles due to diversions being in place.

When the ambulance eventually arrived in Drogheda, the man was in such an agitated state he couldn't sit still enough for a scan to be taken and at 8am on Saturday medics decided to send him back to the Navan Hospital.

Hours later worried relatives called the Lourdes as the man had not arrived in Navan they were shocked to be informed he hadn't even left Drogheda yet.

He eventually arrived back in Navan 24 hours after he left it.

The HSE is currently trying to close the A&E in Navan and insisting all patients travel to Drogheda.

Recently thousands of people took to the streets of Navan to protest against the move and Meath West TD Peadar Toibín who heads up the Save Navan Hospital group told the Sunday World, “I have been given reliable information about an elderly patient who suffered a serious fall on Friday night less than 250 metres from Navan A&E.

“An 82-year-old man whose family have asked for his name to be withheld fell in a nursing home which adjoins Navan Hospital at 7pm on Friday evening last.

"An ambulance was called for and one had to come all the way from Dublin to pick him up. The family requested that the elderly man be brought next door to Navan A&E.

Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín. Photo by Frank Mc Grath

Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín. Photo by Frank Mc Grath

"The ambulance drivers refused to do this, indicating that they have been told not to bring the patient to Navan A&E but to bring him to Drogheda. Even when the family protested this, the Ambulance drivers insisted on Drogheda and said that their jobs depended on it.

"They insisted on this despite being advised that the direct road is closed between Navan and Drogheda due to road works.

"As a result the ambulance had to travel for miles and miles on diverted country roads to get to Drogheda's Lourdes hospital.

“The patient did not arrive to Drogheda until 11pm on Friday. His sister who is 80-years-old had to drive from Navan to Drogheda on these same diverted country roads.

"Because of the overcrowding in Drogheda, the man was not seen for hours. His elderly sister had to sit with him as he was agitated. Nurses in Drogheda took bloods, then decided to do a scan at 8am in the morning. This did not happen in the end as the patient was too agitated and the medics said he wasn’t still enough for the scan.

"The staff in Drogheda then called an ambulance to take the patient back to Navan A&E. This ambulance did not arrive at Drogheda until 8pm on Saturday evening, over 24 hours after the accident happened to collect the elderly man.

"The 82 year old man was left lying on a trolley all that time and there was confusion among staff in Navan and Drogheda as to his location.

“This begs the questions, is the HSE already reducing patient access to Navan by diverting ambulances away from Navan A&E, even from its own door step? Why are they doing it when the road between the two towns is closed? Why are they sending a patient to a far longer waiting time in Drogheda than dealing with them in Navan? What was the cost, as the ambulance was out of service in helping others for a far longer period? The Minister must answer these life and death questions.”

A HSE spokeswoman said: “We do not comment on individual patient cases.

“There is no curtailment in services to patients to Our Lady’s Hospital Navan. The hospital is bypassed for cases involving trauma, heart attack and strokes, which has been the case for a number of years.”

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