No Sense of Outrage

March 22, 2009

A recent letter to the editor of of the Irish Times pointed to an accusation once made by the wife of a former US ambassador to Ireland who said that the Irish had “no sense of outrage”. This accusation is highly applicable to us as a nation when it comes to our toleration of a health service that is failing us. It seems that it’s not until we are confronted head-on with the failures within the service, that we wake-up to how inhumane and inefficient the system really is.


The letter continued…

“My recent experience of the A&E system was in the company of my elderly mother. A&E is like the Red Cow Roundabout. You need to go to an entirely different place but the ‘system’ dictates that everyone must first ‘congregate’ in A&E, regardless of whether they are an accident or emergency case, in order to get eventually – if they are lucky – to where they need to be in hospital.

My mother had a GP’s letter recommending her immediate admission to Mayo General Hospital. Yet for two days, in severe pain, she was forced to run the gauntlet of gross duplication (her medical details alone were demanded and written down by seven different people in A&E), lack of treatment, lack of privacy, lack of communication, lack of care, inadequate toilet facilities and a total lack of dignity. My mother died suddenly and unexpectedly a mere 32 hours after her ordeal in A&E.”

This person’s experience prompted her to ask some very valid questions…

“Is it not time to call time on the HSE as it is presently devised? Remove decisions on medical treatment and care from accountants and form-fillers to medical staff. Return the hospital management to the matrons and clinical staff who have the training to determine patients’ needs. Or, like the banking system, is the present system that governs the HSE all about money and greed — the same disease that has wrecked our economy — with the patient’s clinical care merely an appendage?”

The late Susie Long advocated on behalf of all patients to bring about change in the system which had failed her. Susie turned her own personal tragedy into a force for positive change. She succeeded in waking the Irish nation out of it’s stupor of indifference and toleration. Surely we owe it to her memory to unite to become a force for change and to continue her fight for proper reform of our health service? It’s time for the Irish nation to stand up and be counted and to prove that it does indeed possess a sense of outrage.

Source:  Irish Times online.