[Sinn Fein]

8 November 2000

Woman's 10-hour wait in freezing casualty unit not isolated event

Sinn Fein South Dublin Central representative Aengus Ó Snodaigh has said that the case of an Inchicore woman who had to wait ten hours in a freezing cold hospital casualty department because there were no blankets ``is becoming the norm rather than an isolated incident''.

Fifty-nine-year-old Mrs Frances Byrne, of Thomas Davis Street West, Inchicore, went to St James's Hospital twice over the Bank Holiday weekend suffering from high blood pressure and chest pains.  She was later diagnosed as having a kidney infection.  Mrs Byrne said that she was so cold in St James's Hospital that she had to send her son home for a blanket because there was none available.

Sinn Fein's Aengus Ó Snodaigh said:

``It is not acceptable for people who are in pain and worried about what is wrong with them to have to wait for hours on end in the first place, let alone in the freezing cold.

``It's not unusual for constituents to complain to me of delays for anything up to nine or ten hours.  Hospital management say that they only ran out of blankets for a short time - so why wasn't Mrs Byrne provided with a blanket during the rest of her ten-hour wait?''

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