Brutally honest letter from an Irish student sheds light on the current state of hospitals
It’s no news that our healthcare system is in need of a massive overhaul.
Overcrowding, underfunding and access to services have been on the political and news agenda for an era.
A final year student in the University of Limerick has reminded us once again of the horrors in hospitals with an open letter to health minister Simon Harris.
Amy Gillooly writes:
“I wrote this last night at 3am from my hospital bed.”
The letter details that Amy is in hospital due to reoccurring kidney issues.
“As someone who has been trying to get to the bottom of a kidney issue for many years, visits to the hospital are fairly routine for me. I know I'm not alone in this, many people have health issues and go through life without complaining about their experiences with the HSE. Typically, I would be one of those people but this seven-day holiday to University Hospital Galway has just been the straw that broke the camels back, although this bed will actually break my back sooner rather than later.”
In the letter, Amy shares that she has ended up sleeping in an eight-bed senior person ward. At the age of 21, this placement seems inappropriate.
Amy writes that her journey to the ward was via A&E.
“I spent 48hrs in A&E, 40 of which I spent on a trolly, in a cubicle due to needing isolation. In that 40 hours, the cubicle was not cleaned once. The sheets remained unchanged.
The only boundary keeping me "isolated" was a curtain. I ended up getting sicker in A&E than I was when I came in, how is this possible? More importantly how is it let happen? Two unisex restrooms are not sufficient for all the people who were crammed into A&E, and they weren't exactly clean either, again I'm not blaming the nursing staff or the ward attendants, it's not their responsibility to scrub toilets.”
Amy clarifies that staff are extremely helpful but the overcrowding and lack of funding in hospitals is evident everywhere.
“I was moved into a semi-private 4-bed room on the same ward, which resembled a storage room due to the vast number of chairs and other medical equipment left sitting on any available space.”
Amy was moved to a different ward which again suffered overcrowding and issues.
“This ward could only be compared to grand central station with patients rambling around, it smells and I'm nauseous thinking about why, there is a leak in the ceiling above my bed, the bed, which is no more than a glorified trolly, squeaks every time I move, there is a odd hollow in the centre of this so-called mattress,” writes a frustrated Amy.
“As someone who is in my early twenties, it is demeaning to be placed in such a ward. The poor lady next to me is confined to bed and from what I can gather through the curtain which separates us, suffers with dementia, this is hardly the best place for her,” says the student.
Amy concludes by urging the HSE to do more.
“Hospitals are where we go, when in our most vulnerable states, when we are doubled over in pain and when our immune system is at its lowest.”
“To think that the HSE think the level of care patients receiving is adequate is a joke. I'm still meant to be in isolation, yet I'm in an eight-bed ward beside a woman who has defecated within 2 meters of my bed.”
“I think it's about time the HSE was scrapped and a complete overhaul of the system is required, because many people are being failed, when we are too unwell to fight for ourselves.”