A woman who spent 60 hours waiting on a chair in an emergency department has said conditions in the hospital were “awful”.
Elaine Galvin went to A&E because of a respiratory illness and said she was seen “pretty quickly” upon arrival and moved then into the waiting area.
“That’s when I started to realise that the situation had changed from the last time I’d been in the emergency department,” she told Newstalk Breakfast.
“Because [what was different] from the last time I’d been in the emergency department, we were now in these type of pods.
“There you sit on a chair; you could have a low back chair or a high back chair - which makes a big difference when you’re there for a prolonged amount of time.
“Then when I was being admitted I was being moved into a more watched area of the ED where you go to a foldout chair and that’s where I was for 60 hours until I got a trolley and then after another five hours I got a bed; so, 72 [hours].”
Ms Galvin said there was little privacy, fluorescent lights were left on 24 hours a day and she even had to bring a pillow from home to rest on.
She says her experience should not be seen as a criticism of the staff who she said were “phenomenal” but the overall hospital environment.
“They [the staff] are unhappy with it,” she said.
“It was verbalised to me, the words used were, ‘It’s cruel to have you in here this long. It’s awful that you’re in here this long. Please, complain.’”
Ms Galvin has since done just that and has been told to expect a reply “in due course.”
Earlier this week, HIQA published a report that found emergency departments were under "unprecedented strain" and that waits of 80-90 hours for a bed were no unusual.
In one extreme example, a patient in Limerick waited 116 hours for a bed.
Main image: An A&E sign.