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A Corofin native has shared details of what he described as “a nightmare” stint at University Hospital Limerick this weekend.

Dermot Hayes was admitted to UHL on Thursday after complaining of pain around his naval area. The Clare Echo has previously documented how the Ennis resident has undergone dialysis treatment at home since July of last year.

After undergoing a cat scan, the results of which were unclear, Dermot was told he would have to be admitted to UHL via the Emergency Department. At 8:30pm on Thursday, he was sitting on a wheelchair and was “half-promised that I’d be dealt with”.

From here, he was put on a trolley in A&E. “I was left in a corridor, it was choc a bloc, it was like a warzone, I was getting anxious, no one was telling me when I would be out of here, there no indication if it was one hour or ten hours that I’d be left there for”.

Speaking to The Clare Echo, the well-known activist claimed that COVID-19 guidelines particularly that of social distancing is not being adhered to in the A&E. “We were all pale to pale on trolleys and we’re supposed to be talking about COVID but yet we were up on top of each other”.

Fellow patients were “getting upset everywhere,” he recalled. “To catch someone’s attention was another job. It was heart-breaking”. He believed there was a lack of privacy for patients with doctors telling them details on their condition within earshot of other personnel admitted to the hospital.

“I stayed overnight but with no sleep, I put the mask over my eyes to try sleep but it was very difficult, the nurses were hovering between the trolleys on either side. It was deadly. I had no dialysis that night, I was holding tight”.

On Friday morning, he had to undergo manual dialysis with a nurse, by 12pm that day he threatened to leave the hospital due to rising frustration with the conditions and the inability to be given a bed. “I had no indication on when I would get a bed. There was talk around 2pm that I’d get a bed, I got a bed at 5pm in the renal ward, I was there 22 hours before I got a bed,” Hayes outlined.

Results found nothing of real concern on Saturday and by Sunday, it was recommended that it was safe for Dermot to return home. “I’m lucky I’m able to speak up, I wouldn’t be left lying down, I had to speak up, I was so angry and upset. I felt helpless but I did speak up, I’m annoyed with the doctors and nurses that were there, I wanted answers but they couldn’t give me a clear picture on when I would have a bed.

“I’ve been around seven different hospitals, two in Cork, Croom, Ennis, Limerick, two in Dublin and this was far the worst I’ve ever seen, I’m going to hospital since I was a 13 year old kid. I felt so ashamed on one hand, I’ve paid a lot of taxes over the years, I’m very fearful for the future with more trolleys, this is going on for a good number of years. The hospital in Ennis, there is no doubt about it but I could have been dealt with there,” Dermot commented.

In a statement to The Clare Echo, UL Hospitals Group detailed that sustained high volumes of attendances, including many frail elderly patients with complex medical conditions, have continued over several weeks at the ED.

Complying with social distancing has become difficult due to the volume of presentations, the spokesperson advised. “We are following all the national guidance in respect of the management of Covid-19. At the point of presentation to ED, patients presenting for assessment are segregated into Covid/query Covid and non-Covid streams. Stable medical and surgical patients in the non-Covid stream are directed to the Medical Assessment Unit and Surgical Assessment Unit, which since March 2020 have been operating as medical and surgical EDs. Those non-Covid patients who must remain in ED are completely separated from patients in the Covid/query Covid pathway and there is no crossover of staff.

“In delivering care in ED, we need to balance infection prevention and control precautions against promptly assessing and treating patients in line with their clinical need. The risk of asymptomatic transmission of Covid-19 remains in all healthcare and non-healthcare settings as long as the virus is not suppressed”.


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