Broadcaster Pat Kenny confronted Health Secretary Stephen Donnelly over his daughter’s “horrific” experience in the emergency department (ED) which he claimed could have serious consequences.
Minister Donnelly appeared on Newstalk’s Pat Kenny yesterday, where the host questioned him about hospital overcrowding.
Kenny explained that during the summer, his daughter had a fall, resulting in a head injury.
When she was bleeding and briefly lost consciousness, she attended her ED at St Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin.
However, she was left in the emergency department overnight, without a scan for internal injuries, and was told by a doctor to bandage herself.
“My worry was my daughter fell, hit her head, drip, concussion, was out for several minutes, not checked all night for any vital signs,” he said.
They said, “She’ll have an exam in the morning,” and by that time – fortunately she wasn’t – but she could have died of a brain hemorrhage.
He continued: ‘And then the doctor has the insolence to tell my wife when the bandage was taken off and my daughter said, ‘Please wear it again because it relieves the discomfort,’ so he gave her a new bandage and said, ‘Do it yourself.’
In this regard, the minister admitted, “That doesn’t seem right, Pat.”
Kenny continued, “These are the people who have run out of empathy, to be perfectly honest, have run out of burden, and have run out of empathy.”
He added that the experience did not leave him “very optimistic about what things will be like in the winter” in EDs.
Kenny has two adult daughters, Christina and Nicole Kenny, with his wife Cathy.
He did not say which of his daughters were injured.
It comes amid growing fears of an overcrowding crisis in Irish hospitals this winter.
Minister Donnelly said yesterday that “every public and private bed” should be used to tackle the impending “pandemic” of Covid-19 and winter flu.
Honest predictions have predicted that hospitals will be under severe stress over the coming months, as they prepare to deal with the onslaught of Covid, influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) during the winter months.
The health minister said he met with HSE on Tuesday night to express his department’s view that “all special capabilities” are being mobilized to tackle overcrowding.
Speaking on the programme, the minister said “this year we are facing a perfect storm” as the health service is likely to be hit by multiple waves of viruses simultaneously.
“Australians deal with it and deal with it in New Zealand and other southern hemisphere countries,” he said.
They are facing a combination of Covid… and presentations being delayed due to Covid. They have experienced a very severe flu season. A lot of people got sick and a lot of people ended up in the hospital. Many people have died.
“What we are planning is … a very difficult winter where we are likely to deal with Covid, influenza, RSV and other stresses at the same time, as well as historically high late presentations due to Covid.”
The draft HSE winter plan states that during the six months of winter, the high flu season could see 4,350 hospitalizations, with 225 patients in the intensive care unit.
He also warned that the worst-case scenario for Covid-19 would see 17,000 hospitalizations, with 700 patients in the intensive care unit, the report explains.
The minister said there was a need to “mobilize the entire healthcare system”.
All special abilities in the country must be used.
There is a good relationship between the public and private systems. What I repeated to HSE last night is that we need to use every public and private bed, every private MRI, dexa scanner, xray, home nursing bed, community bed.
“This winter requires mobilizing the entire healthcare system, the public and private system.”
In response to his comments, an INMO spokesperson told the Mail: “We are pleased to hear the minister confirm that this is his plan. More details are needed as there is no way the public hospital system will be able to handle this winter.
“Our members will not tolerate another winter where they are exposed to excessive violence, fatigue and workloads and expect to apologize to patients for things beyond their control.”
Minister Donnelly confirmed yesterday that a flu vaccine will be available from 3 October, along with a third Covid booster vaccine for those over 65, or immunocompromised adults.
The flu vaccine is free for high-risk groups, health care workers, and those between the ages of 2 and 17.
He continued: “Ireland has done really well on vaccines, HSE has done really well on vaccines, doctors and pharmacists have really come in, but most importantly the Irish people have done incredibly well.”
I was at a meeting of EU health ministers a few weeks ago in Europe, and many of them were looking very enviously at the vaccine rates in Ireland, and I think this is something we need to keep, never lose sight of and never accept. granted.
“My request, and the question of our public health workers, is that everyone go get the COVID shot and get the flu shot.”
Asked if a free flu shot for everyone was being considered, a health department spokesperson said: “This flu vaccine program ensures that people who are most vulnerable to the effects of flu get a flu shot at no charge.”
A total of 476 patients were waiting on a hospital cart yesterday morning, according to the Inmo Institute.
The Nursing Union raised concerns earlier this week that nursing graduates would move to the UK due to the rising costs of staying at home.
Many NHS trusts offer staff accommodations at a reduced cost, and some offer free beds for new employees.
Minister Donnelly said yesterday that he believed a purpose-built stay for staff was a “good idea” and that previous stays at Rotunda Hospital were being considered.
Saint Vincent’s Hospital has been contacted for comment.