Friday 30 May 2008

Kerry General Hospital Incompetence

Last weekend I hurt my left foot while walking along a country road in Kerry, I couldn't walk on it so I went to A&E in Tralee to get it looked at. The admission fee is €66 so I paid up and took a seat. The waiting area was grubby and smelled faintly like urine.

After an hour and a half, during which time a few more people had arrived but nobody before me had been seen, a nurse came in and announced that there was a road traffic accident coming in and that would add a couple of hours onto existing waiting times. Shortly after that an ambulance rushed in with a cardiac arrest.

I realised that as my foot was not critical I could end up spending more than 12 hours in there and end up on Joe Duffy sighing out my story, so I opted to leave. I had to come back to Dublin anyway.

On the way out I informed admissions that I was leaving and asked for my €66 back. Unfortunately they couldn't give it to me because they didn't have a "system in place" for refunds. After a little back and forthing they suggested I write a letter to the hospital and see if something could be done. Off I limped without my refund.

Back in Dublin I went into VHI Swiftcare where I consulted with a Nurse, then a Doctor, was x-rayed, bandaged and seen off faster than I could drink my complimentary cappuccino. The bill was €205 which included the crutches (€25) that I get to keep, just in case anyone out there is ever looking for a pair.

I rang up Patient Accounts in Tralee Hospital and enquired after my €66, (on principle I don't think they should get to keep it)

I explained my story to the accounts person.

Accounts Woman
So you want a refund?


Accounts Woman
Why didn't you just get it when you were there?

I asked for one but they refused, told me to write a letter.

Accounts Woman 
Who did you ask?

Admission, the people I paid.

Accounts Woman
Did you see a doctor?

No, blah blah hour and a half blah blah emergency blah blah decided to leave.

Accounts Woman
So why didn't they give you your money back?

I don't know, they said they didn't have a system.

Accounts Woman

They said they...

Accounts Woman
Okay Okay, we'll have to post it back to you, what are your details again....

Ultimately, the point is that people employed by the hospital, dealing with patients, in pain, do not know what they are doing. (Surprised?)

And so it was that the last whisper of faith I had in the Irish Public Healthcare system has now evaporated. It is a truly shameful, disorganised, confused, filthy shambles. If you plan on getting sick, leave the country now.


cromdubh said...

Sorry you fell foul of what passes for weekends
The heading would suggest that your medical treatment was totally botched and it had to be sorted out elsewhere.
In all fairness, one might ask how many cardiac arrests and RTAs were you likely to encounter while you were being dealt with at the SwiftCare Clinic. Seems like a great idea, i wish there were more of them.
it being a weekend as well, the medical staff who should have dealt with your problem were probably also covering wards, theatre, ICU, maybe even grabbing a bite or having a pee.
It really is unfair to compare an all-comers A&E in a public Hospital on a weekend with a private facility during the working week.
I hope you got your money back, you should submit your swiftcare bill as well, I wonder if they have a system for that?

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