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‘My mother would rather die than go back to UHL’

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A West Clare woman has outlined the dilemma she is faced with should her elderly mother get seriously ill once again.

Mags Mullaney has been the full-time carer to her mother Kitty since she was discharged from University Hospital Limerick two years ago. Her admission to hospital was via ambulance. “She spent 48 hours or maybe more on a trolley, then she eventually got a bad in a mixed patient ward which really upset her. Some of our family stayed in the hospital at all time with her because she wasn’t able to go to the toilet on her own or anything like that, trying to get her to a toilet was an ordeal in itself, staff were doing their best but it was so upsetting to sit there everyday and watch this all the time”.

“We were told to bring Kitty home and that she would be dead within eight weeks, about four weeks later Kitty got seriously ill and had to be airlifted from the football field at the back of our home to UHL, the paramedics told us she wouldn’t make the journey that it was too long, I drove by road and was hoping I’d get there in time to see Kitty, she survived. It was a traumatic time for all the family to be in there and see all the trolleys, you have to see it to believe it,” she said at Monday’s meeting of the Mid-West Hospital Campaign.

She highlighted that the 105 minute journey from Loop Head to UHL is “a very long drive” for a sick person. Mags undertook the route following her mother’s release from hospital, this time to transport her daughter to A&E as she became “seriously ill”. After travelling for two hours, they waited a further two hours before being assessed. “She was seen in a storeroom that’s where a nurse saw her, at that stage I didn’t care where she was seen. There was no bed for her to stay so I had to take her home with me again at night and try look after her as well as my Mam”.

Having defied the odds on more than one occasion, Mags outlined how her mother has warned her not to bring her back to UHL. “I feel sad that in this day and age my mother has to live like this. She has told me she doesn’t ever want to go to hospital, she would rather die on the side of the road before we bring her to UHL again. It leaves me in a dilemma, what do I do if she does get seriously ill again, do I bring her to the hospital or leave her at home to die. She is still with us and will be ninety years old next Monday”.

Newmarket-on-Fergus native, Páraic McMahon is a freelance journalist and broadcaster currently working for numerous national and local publications including The Clare Echo, The Irish Examiner, The Irish Independent, The Irish Times, RTÉ, TheJournal.ie, The42.ie. 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 - paraic@clareecho.ie

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