THE HSE has issued an apology and promised to “thoroughly investigate” the circumstances in which a patient - who had earlier passed out from suspected blood loss - was left to wait for eight hours in the emergency department of the Mid-Western Regional Hospital without treatment.
Paul Moroney was doing the dishes at home in Rhebogue on Sunday when he suffered a deep gash on a broken coffee pot.
“It was on the web of my hand so the bleeding wouldn’t stop and you could see right into it. I don’t know if it was the blood loss or the shock but I actually fainted and my wife had to call the ambulance,” Mr Moroney told the Leader.
In a written complaint to the Ombudsman, Mr Moroney sets out that he was prepared for a lengthy wait but not for the attitude of some staff.
“I was informed of the long waiting times. I expected to be there half the night. This was at 7pm. After eight hours waiting, I begged the nurse to clean and stitch my wound so I could go home. She refused me any assistance and told me I would have to wait at least another five hours before I could see a nurse. I have been in many hospitals in the world including densely-populated London and poverty-stricken Bolivia and each time I have received some level of care.
“In the Regional nobody offers you any help no matter how covered in blood you are or how much stress the patients are in. I saw a young boy left lying for hours with a broken leg and another man covered from head to toe in blood after falling through a glass door made sit in waiting room for a similar time.”
Mr Moroney said that the issue of resource cuts could be set aside and that a “fundamental lack of desire from the nurses, doctors and clerical staff to minimise the waiting times is at the heart of the issue”.
“Low morale, wages cuts and red tape can’t justify in any way the disgraceful way they treat the ordinary sick people of the Mid-West region. It is completely unethical and the medical staff should be admonished publicly for their considerable part in this terrible service.”
After leaving the emergency department - without being treated - Mr Moroney asked if he could be seen at St John’s Hospital the following morning, to be informed he would have to wait five hours to see a nurse there. His wound was eventually stitched by his GP, Dr Philip Cullen in Castletroy.
The HSE said on Tuesday that they had “been in contact with Mr Moroney and apologised to him for the unacceptable standard of service he received in the emergency department”.
“His complaint will be thoroughly investigated and when completed we will discuss the results of the investigation with him. We have also outlined to Mr Moroney that we are currently finalising a reorganisation of the way acute medical services are delivered across the region. When this is done there will be a full review of the operation of the emergency department and Mr Moroney’s complaint will be used to inform this in order to ensure a better quality of service.”
Mr Moroney said that senior HSE official Paula Cussen-Murphy had called him to apologise this Tuesday.