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Pat Kenny challenges Donnelly on ‘dreadful experience’ at Dublin hospital

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Pat Kenny has confronted the Health Minister about his “dreadful experience” in the hospital system with his daughter.

In an in-depth interview with Stephen Donnellythe Newstalk the presenter said he does not have “great optimism” for the winter after seeing what the hospitals were like during the summer.

It came after Minister Donnelly warned that the HSE was facing a “very difficult winter” with the potential for a ‘twindemic’ of COVID and flu.

Pat said his daughter suffered a serious fall during the summer and was rushed to the Emergency Department.

“My own dreadful experience at St Vincent’s Hospital with my daughter in the summer doesn’t give me great optimism for how things will be in the winter,” he said.

“People were kept overnight and not treated at all. A good triage service would say, ‘Listen missus, stay put because if you come in here, we’re not going to do anything to you. You’ll just be sitting in a chair for 12 hours and we might see you tomorrow.

“Would you not be better off putting up with this discomfort for 12 hours at home, rather than sitting on a chair for 12 hours?”

Hospital crisis

He said patients need to be told the truth – that they can’t expect to be treated in a timely fashion, ‘even if they’re brought in by ambulance’.

Minister Donnelly said triage services are improving in many Emergency Departments and suggested a new program aimed at ensuring Emergency Department Consultant Doctors are on the floor at least 16 hours a day would help.

“My concern was, obviously, with my daughter who fell, banged her head, blood flowing, concussed and was knocked out for several minutes … right throughout the night she wasn’t checked for vital signs.

“They said, ‘you’ll get a scan in the morning’, by which time – happily she wasn’t – but she could have been dead from a bleed in the brain.’

“And then a doctor has the affrontery to say to my wife, when the bandage was taken off and my daughter said, ‘please put it back on because it eases the discomfort’ … he handed her a fresh bandage and said: ‘Do it yourself.’”

When Minister Donnelly agreed: “That doesn’t sound right,” Pat said the story shows that some staff in the system have “run out of empathy, to be quite honest.”

Run out of road

“They’ve run out of road; run out of empathy.”

Minister Donnelly said the best way people could protect themselves and the health service this winter is to make sure they get all their jabs.

The COVID-19 vaccine will remain free for everyone and the flu vaccine is free for several different groups.

“My ask, and the ask of our public health workers, is for everybody to go and get the COVID vaccine and get the flu vaccine,” he concluded.

You can listen back here:

Is Newstalk on Breakfat this morning meanwhile, the Chief Clinical Officer Dr. Colm Henry said a ‘catastrophic winter’ is ‘by no means certain in Irish hospitals.

They said an early flu spike in Australia did not translate into huge pressures on their health system and the case fatality rate was lower than previous years.

You can listen back here:

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