Belfast Telegraph

Sick pensioner’s 10 hour ordeal

by Natalie Irvine

A pensioner “who was spitting up blood” has claimed she was left lying on a trolley in the casualty department at the Ulster Hospital for 10 hours.

Indira Laugee, 75, who represents Carers NI on the executive committee of Age Sector Platform, and lives in the Dundonald area, was rushed to the Ulster Hospital in an ambulance on Wednesday, August 11 , — on direct orders from her G.P after she had contracted pneumonia.

She arrived at the hospital at 3pm and said despite being seen by doctors on a number of occasions was not given a bed until 1am the following morning.

Mrs Laugee said: “I was very sick and was spitting blood. I couldn’t move very much and was put on a trolley.

“I waited on that trolley in the corridor of casualty from 3pm that afternoon until 1am in the next morning. I was on that trolley for 10 hours.

“I have diabetes which is controlled by my diet — I have to have a strict diet.

“My G.P saw me at 1.30pm that day and told me I needed to go to hospital, so I had no lunch. But no one at casualty wanted to know. I was given a small sandwich at 5pm but wasn’t even given a glass of water. I was so thirsty but no one wanted to help me. They just kept telling me ‘We’re trying’.

“I also needed to go to the toilet but again no one wanted to help me. I am on kidney dialysis — haemodialysis — and this would have been on my records as I have been admitted in the past at the hospital.

“My daughter arrived after she finished work around 6pm to stay with me. She couldn’t believe what was happening.”

Despite her long wait, Ms Laugee said she was treated well by the ward staff.

“They made me very comfortable over the eight days I had to stay in hospital,” she continued.

“I am still too ill to make a formal complaint about my treatment in casualty. I’m just concentrating on getting better and recuperating.

“But what is the meaning of casualty? Is it not supposed to be there for people in dire need of help?

“I used to be a hospital administrator so I feel I know what it is supposed to be like —you should not be neglected like this when you are in dire need.”

In a statement, the South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust, said it was unable to comment on the specifics of this case due to patient confidentiality.

“However to set the context, 196 patients attend the Ulster Hospital Emergency Department on a daily basis and we strive to ensure that 95 percent of patients are seen, treated and discharged within the four hour target and that no patient is in the emergency department for more than 12 hours,” the statement said.

Last week DUP MLA Simon Hamilton was “shocked” by the latest released figures of A&E waiting times at the Ulster Hospital, and felt there was something “seriously wrong” in the South Eastern Area.

The Emergency Care 2009/2010 figures released by the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety reveal that in that year, 1,336 people had to wait in the Ulster A & E for 12 hours or more.

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