Belfast Telegraph

Anger over 90-year-old Belfast mum's six-day wait for broken bone op

By Claire McNeilly

The daughter of a 90-year-old woman with multiple broken bones who lay in agony in hospital for six days and who was made to fast before an operation that was then cancelled twice has slammed the "terrible treatment" of her mother.

Frail Alzheimer's sufferer Myra Robinson from east Belfast was rushed to the Ulster Hospital in Dundonald by ambulance last Friday after a fall that left her with a broken hip, a broken bone in her shoulder and broken ribs.

Despite being deprived of food in preparation for a scheduled operation on two different occasions, Mrs Robinson's procedure was cancelled.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, her civil servant daughter Joyce Saffan said she was hoping the critical surgery required by her mother would now take place. The hospital has since confirmed the procedure.

"I'm so angry. She is in the hospital but she has been lying in agony for six days now and nothing has been done," she said.

"But even worse than that, she has been forced to fast and she's been given drugs and painkillers on an empty stomach, so when I went to see her the other day she was completely out of it and she was hallucinating.

"An animal wouldn't be treated like that at the vet's. It's terrible. If one of my cats got knocked down and had a broken leg it would be fixed that day, or at the very least the following morning."

The South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust said that Mrs Robinson "has unfortunately waited longer than expected for surgery".

Mrs Saffan said the injuries happened in a fall at a day centre last Friday, after which she was rushed to the hospital.

"She was walking along with another lady. They were both using their Rollators and I think they must have have bumped into each other," she said.

"I can't image what else could have happened because I had been walking with her the day before and she was absolutely fine."

The 48-year-old said the ordeal had been extremely difficult for Mrs Robinson, who is in extreme pain, and for herself, forced to watch on helplessly as her mother's essential surgery was cancelled.

"This is the third day in a row that she's been through this," she said.

"From midnight on Sunday she was told she couldn't have any food or drink because they initially said they were going to operate on Monday.

"Then she was forced to fast again on Tuesday because they said she's on the list for an operation - so let's hope it goes ahead; third time lucky."

Mrs Saffan said her mum, who was "very tired" and "drifting in and out of sleep" when she saw her yesterday, just wanted to get the treatment she desperately needs as soon as possible. "The nurses and the staff have been great; I couldn't say a bad word about any of them, but obviously they're very overworked and under pressure," she added.

"There definitely needs to be more money put into the health service because something like this shouldn't be happening."

She added: "Mum already has Alzheimer's but after all this she's even more confused and distressed about what exactly is going on."

In a statement to the Belfast Telegraph the South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust said it "recognises that Mrs Robinson has unfortunately waited longer than expected for surgery due to the unprecedented numbers of fracture patients presenting to the Ulster Hospital".

It added that "all cases are prioritised in order of clinical need", and confirmed that Mrs Robinson received her surgery yesterday "at the first available opportunity".

The statement also added: "During her stay within the Ulster Hospital, nursing staff ensured that Mrs Robinson's nutritional and hydration needs were met."

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