C: Sarah Ryan

Irish woman: I was left for 16 hours on a hospital chair with a hole in my throat

An Irish mother of two has shared her story of spending sixteen hours on a hard chair in Beaumont hospital while suffering the after effects of treatment for a serious infection that left her unable to breathe.

Sarah Ryan was admitted to the hospital yesterday suffering from Quinsy, an aggressive form of tonsillitis that can block the airway and, if left untreated, result in suffocation. Her illness required doctors to lance her throat with a scalpel to clear her airway, after which she was left sitting on a chair for more than half a day under observation.

She says that she was nervous going to the hospital to begin with, having heard “not great things”. Arriving at the hospital, she was left to wait for two hours “in absolute agony” before being seen, and says that the delays were caused at least in part by frustrated patients leaving to get coffee, or have a cigarette, and missing their name being called.

The intial care she received, after the two hour wait, she says, was “excellent”, but things went downhill from there.

“After getting my throat lanced open I sit on a chair spitting horror into a bucket for 16 hours. I’m told there are no beds available in the Hospital. About an hour ago I’m told I’m going to the ward, I’m ecstatic. I feel lousy and need to lie down badly. When I get to the ward it’s another room of chairs, I recognise a woman sitting there who left the ED hours ago. I decided that my health is actually more at risk sitting in a chair for another 8 hours with no sleep and in agony, so I signed a waiver and left.”

She says she was repeatedly asked for her health insurance details by hospital staff, despite receiving no treatment that was not available to public patients.

Sarah, who is one half of Gript’s “unsafe space” podcast with her husband, well known dentist Keith Redmond, said that she eventually gave up from exhaustion, and signed a waiver to go home, saying that if it came to it, she’d “rather die in her own bed than on a chair”.

The Irish Government spent about €18,500,000,000 (18.5 billion euros) on the health service last year, an increase of over 80% compared to Fine Gael’s entry into Government in 2011. This year has seen new record highs set for patients on hospital trollies and waiting lists for treatment.


Do you have a story like Sarah’s? Let us know by writing to [email protected]

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