"Is this the kind of health service we have? - My A&E Visit"

About: Midland Regional Hospital Midland Regional Hospital / Emergency department

(as the patient),

Recently I went to visit my daughter who lives Co Laois. On the Saturday evening we were sitting down to dinner, when I got a terrible pain in my side and felt very unwell. I then got the worst diarrhea and felt really sick. I took to my bed and as the time went on I was just getting worse. All day Sunday was spent between the loo and the bed and eventually at 1am in the morning my family called an ambulance as they were so worried about me. The ambulance arrived and I was taken to Portlaoise Hospital. When I arrived I was dealt with fairly quickly as the A&E dept. was not too busy. I was put on a drip and given antibiotics, but I still continued to have diarrhea, but felt safe in the fact that I was been taken care of.

Monday morning I was sent for a contrast scan of my bowel, a chest x-ray and I had a heart echo done. While I was having all these tests done, the A&E department was getting busier and busier and by late morning the place was chaos. Then the nurse in charge came to see me to say she had bad news, she had to move me to a trolley in the corridor. By now my diarrhoea was just unimaginable and I needed the loo every few minutes. My trolley was put in the corridor opposite a store room, a good walk away from the one and only toilet in A&E being used by patients and visitors alike. The hours were ticking by and I thought I was going to lose my mind. At about 7pm that evening my daughter was with me and she said to the nurse I was in a state. A doctor passed by and I pleaded with him to get someone to come and talk to me to give me the results of the scan I had had that morning. He was a very kind man and he must have explained my plight to the powers that be, because a little while later the nurse in charge came out and said they were going to put me in an isolation room, as that was the only place there was a loo that I could use.

My isolation room turned out to be the secure area where the prisoners from Portlaoise prison were normally treated. Now this may sound funny (but it wasn't). I was put on a trolley in a room where the door could not be locked or closed, so the door was wide open. Right outside my door there were three prison officers and a prisoner in handcuffs who was chained to one of the officers. Each time I needed the loo I had to walk by them to use it and to make things worse there was no lock on the door and it didn't close properly.

Is this the kind of health service we have? , One toilet in an A&E department and 25 people on trolleys. Luckily what I had was not contagious, I shudder to think what would have happened if it was. What would HIQA have to say?

I cannot praise the work the nurses and doctors did for me, but it doesn’t surprise me that they want to emigrate. One of the nurses said that there is a probability that the A&E at Portlaoise might close, how is this going to help? Surely this will over load another hospital. The A&E has closed at Roscommon and we see what it has done for Castlebar hospital. Something needs to be done to improve this appalling situation, soon rather than later.

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