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‘If this was animals Frankie Coote would be at the door’ McMahon hits out at health service

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*Marie McMahon. Photograph: John Mangan

Much stricter punishments would be in place were animals treated the way patients attempting to access health care in the Mid-West, a local health activist has claimed.

In May of this year, The Clare Echo reported on Marie McMahon’s account of her husband Tommy Wynne’s death having spent thirty six hours on the same trolley at University Hospital Limerick in April 2018. Now a central part of the organising committee with the Mid-West Hospital Campaign, the Ennistymon woman called on all politicians to work together and with the campaign to create change.

“If I had a cent for every time someone has said to me since I or my family had a similar experience I would be rich. Yet management will try give the impression that it only happens occasionally, it is happening every single day and has been for years, not months. If we were to drive down the road to the emergency department, we would see the same thing being replicated”.

A recent interview by Colette Cowan following her five year extension as CEO of UL Hospitals Group annoyed McMahon. “Who is managing the managers in our hospitals, there is something particularly rotten in UHL, the failure to address the problem is galling. I’ve watched staff run ragged, trying their best to cope, they have a thankless job having to bear the brunt of everyone’s anger, hurt, frustration and despair, they do their very best going above and beyond, they are expected to cope with ever increasing numbers”.

Marie noted that both Dr. Michael Harty and Timmy Dooley have raised health matters in Dáil Éireann. On a local level, she said councillors, the majority of whom signed a pledge supporting the reopening of the A&E at Ennis General Hospital have had “limited interaction” with the group. “We have four Clare representatives in the house of Government, their lack of outrage at the way in which the people of the Banner are being treated, abused and ignored is nothing short of disgraceful. I would go as far as to say it is bordering on criminal in some cases”.

Both Marie and her daughter Cara are heavily involved in the campaign which includes posting daily updates on the overcrowding figures across social media. “We watch the figures everyday, there are days when the figures for UHL are more or equivalent to the numbers in all of Dublin, you can imagine if this was happening in Dublin. The figures are there, we have to be more outraged with those numbers, at what number are we going to stop, those that have the power need to use it”.

McMahon was adamant County Dog Warden Frankie Coote would be making several house calls were the treatment of humans being carried out on animals. “If dogs, cats or any other animals we’re being treated the way our fellow human beings have at UHL and other hospitals, there would be uproar and rightly so. For all of us in Clare, we would have Frankie Coote at the door. We need to all work together to end this horror”. She added, “Our people are scared to get ill, scared to call an ambulance and scared to go to hospital. What have we become by allowing this”.

UL Hospitals Group have investigated Mr Wynne’s case and issued an apology to his family. “We have apologised to Mr Wynne’s loved ones for the length of the wait time in the emergency department and for poor communication during his care”.

Páraic McMahon is Head of News & Sport with The Clare Echo. The Newmarket-on-Fergus native also writes for national papers including The Irish Examiner, The Irish Independent and The Irish Times along with doing work for RTÉ, Today FM, and A graduate of Mary Immaculate College, Páraic was previously employed by The Clare Herald and Clare FM. If you have a story, tip or some feedback for him then send an email to -

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