Patients takes to national airwaves over 'unbearable' heat at Limerick hospital

Jess Casey

Reporter:

Jess Casey

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jess.casey@limerickleader.ie

Patient takes to national airwaves over 'unbearable' heat  at Limerick hospital

The University Hospital Limerick, where two patients have taken to the national airwaves to air their grievances with the hospital's air conditioning system

CONDITIONS at the University Hospital Limerick are so unbearable due to the extremely hot weather this week that patients are unable to sleep and staff are crying, according to two UHL patients. 

As temperatures hit 32 degrees across Limerick this Friday, two UHL patients at the end of their tether contacted RTE’s Liveline to air their grievances with the hospital’s air conditioning system during the heatwave. 

An appeal was made on the national airwaves for deliveries of fans to be made to the hospital, which UHL later said it would be willing to accept.  

Many patients are lying in bed with cold towels in an effort to keep cool and the water cooler also broke this Friday afternoon, Sinead, a patient who has been on a ward in UHL for six weeks after having her bowel removed, told RTE’s Joe Duffy.

Her son then had to go to the shop for cold water and ice pops for the patients on her ward. 

“It's like being locked into a car with the heat increasing,” she said. 

"I'm sweating out a litre a day," she added. 

It is understood that rooms in the new emergency department are fitted with a more modern air conditioning system and that mobile air conditioning units have been installed in some of the large wards in the old part of the hospital since last weekend. 

However, some patients reported muggy conditions throughout the building.

John from Jack Fitzgerald Electrical in Limerick City also featured on Liveline this Friday. 

“Fans are the bread equivalent of the Beast from the East this week,” he told Mr Duffy. 

UHL Management is “acutely conscious of the discomfort the hot weather is causing patients and staff,” a spokesperson for the University Hospital Limerick said. 

“Like many acute hospitals in Ireland, much of the inpatient accommodation in the hospital is located on outdated nightingale wards without modern air conditioning.” 

“UHL has deployed eight mobile air cooling units to older wards in the hospital and has been trying to source additional appropriate equipment." 

"It should be noted that the more recently developed parts of the hospital estate including the Emergency Department, Dialysis Unit, Oncology, Critical Care Block, CF, Dermatology, Breast and Stroke Units, all have modern air conditioning.”

“Hydration rounds have been doubled in frequency in recent days to ensure patients are getting enough water and every effort is being made to ensure unnecessary fasting is kept to a minimum.” 

UHL is currently experiencing a significant increase in the numbers of emergency and trauma cases presenting to the hospital, the spokesperson added. 

“This high volume which we are experiencing is uncharacteristic for time of year. Patients on emergency and trauma lists are prioritised based on clinical decision making and chronological order.” 

“At times of high demand on emergency and trauma procedures, the hospital group does seek to maximise alternative location for trauma procedures to be performed in a safe and efficient manner.”