Man 'fed only sandwiches' at University Hospital Limerick gets apology from HSE

Frank Flanagan pictured at his home in Limerick

Frank Flanagan pictured at his home in Limerick Picture Michael Cowhey

THE HSE has apologised to a man left living on a sandwich a day while he waited for routine surgery in University Hospital Limerick (UHL).

Frank Flanagan, 56, from St Mary’s Park, said he shed half-a-stone in weight while waiting for an ankle operation required after he sustained an ankle injury on April 10 last.

Although he was rushed to hospital, he had to spend nine days in a trauma ward as his surgery was cancelled each day, even though he was forced to go without meals.

Now, having made a complaint, the health service has apologised to Mr Flanagan.

The letter from Donal Carroll of the pan-operative directorate, says normal practice is where patients are required to fast, they should be told “at the earliest possible opportunity” they don’t need to continue if their procedure has been cancelled.

“It appears this did not happen and for this, I am very sorry. I apologise that you were made to fast unnecessarily, but this is to support our best efforts in maximising patient throughput on emergency/trauma lists and ensure best patient experience and outcomes,” Mr Carroll wrote.

He added: “I would like to sincerely apologise that our service delivery did not live up to your expectation. I am sorry for the delays which you endured.”

Elsewhere in the communication, the hospital blamed the delay on an “unprecedented” number of emergency and trauma cases, leading to an “uncharacteristic” wait for some patients.

Mr Flanagan will go back to UHL this Thursday morning for a follow-up appointment, and admits he is hoping he is not kept waiting again. He said he accepts the apology – and hopes sharing his experience will prevent it happening to anybody else.

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