Bridge of Life

Today has been kind to me and I hope it has been kind to you, my Dear Readers.

I’ve been rather distracted, however, on hearing about the plight of a 91 year old man who had to spend 29 hours on a hospital trolley in a Dublin hospital before finally getting a bed.

The Accident and Emergency Crisis in Ireland has been bothering me for a long time now, as both a social researcher and at a personal level, and this latest outrage makes me feel incredibly sad.

Bridge of Life

I can’t but wonder if a child would have been treated in the same way. In  other words, are people in their 80s and 90s viewed as having less value than younger people?

Also, would the 91 year old parent of one of our top politicians be left on a trolley for 29 hours?

As I write tonight, I feel a horrible sense of relief that my parents, who lived to great ages,  have both passed on and will never, ever have to face long waits on hospital trolleys again.

I also feel a horrible sense of agony for the people who are stuck on trolleys in our Accident and Emergency Departments this very minute. This is a social problem, not some natural phenomenon, and can therefore be solved if there is enough social and political will to seek out and implement solutions.

“An aged man is but a paltry thing,
A tattered coat upon a stick, unless
Soul clap its hands and sing…”
WILLIAM BUTLER YEATS, “Sailing to Byzantium”

Let us all sing , and sing out loud together, to bring this awful Accident and Emergency Crisis to the very top of the social and political agenda. 

Author: socialbridge

I am a sociologist and writer from Ireland. I have worked as a social researcher for 30 years and have had a lifelong passion for writing. My main research interests relate to health care and sense of place.

19 thoughts on “Bridge of Life”

  1. We have the same problem here in Australia Jean…I would like to see increased funding for education and health and may be less on Defence…I know homeland security is an issue that governments are grappling with but how much is need and how much is politically driven? That said, I can criticise but I don’t have all of the answers either…today is wet and misty and I think I might sneak away from my desk a little later and take some photos…but… has just released records from WW1 that are free to search for the weekend…and I am looking for info on my grandfathers so am sorely tempted…then again…I have an essay to finish…what choices I have..and aren’t I lucky:)

  2. I find more that humanity tries to evolve they take steps backwards. Hearing this in Ireland is no surprise as hearing this in Canada. Worse in the United States. Yes our elderly I think are being devalued. My mother who is 87 who could go for routine surgery was denied because they said she was too old. Now she has to suffer with her pain for the rest of her days. I have not heard any horror stories regarding children. You can bet any politicians would not have their loved ones wait on a gurney that long. The medical system is going a way which nobody likes. They are treating it like a business nowadays. My doctor has a 10 minute patient limit get them in and out although he chats with me up to half and hour and says he’ll make up time with the remaining ones. You hear once in awhile of awful stories and I mean awful but would venture to say a lot of these stories you don’t hear about as they do not make it to press.

  3. How sad the state of affairs when people have to wait to get the needed medical care. If it’s not over crowding it’s lack of having the health insurance coverage. We tend to put $$ ahead of empathy. It’s a sad state of affairs all over. Yes ..I do believe the well to do are treated better than the average person. We have to wait, not get in ahead of the line for surgeries and care.

  4. This is a fear so many of us have with elderly parents. My mom is 91 and four states away. I make sure I know her caregivers well; I e-mail the caregivers every day, talk to my mom every day, and entrust her to a geriatric specialist. Still..if she suddenly has to be admitted to the hospital (and this has happened several times), I call the ER and get the person in charge there on the phone and insist that she be given a room. It’s not easy. And it doesn’t always work. I’m with Yeats. We must all clap our hands HARD for the rights of the elderly. Their souls are deeper than most!

    1. Pam, it certainly sounds like you are doing everything in your power.
      Yes, there most certainly is a need to clap very hard for the rights of people who are elderly.

  5. I so agree Jean my beautiful sister gave her life to the NHS as a nurse, sister and midwife and finally in the care of the elderly and yet when she needed them they let her down. She died of a drug resistant bug in her chest ….. she went in to hospital in April, she never left! God help us all. Her end care was good , exemplary infact but the system killed her! ….. sorry for ranting. xxx

  6. Oh Willow, I don’t blame you for ‘ranting,’ though I wouldn’t call it that.
    I’m glad that your beloved sister’s end care was good, at least, though it sounds like it should certainly never have come to that.

  7. A good friend of mine in Ireland said a little while ago ‘A trolley? You’d be lucky to get a trolley in an Irish hospital.’ You’re quite right Jean, the old and poor are at the bottom of every list – health, housing, you name it. No money in them, no votes, no imperative to put through the organisational changes that are needed.

    1. Thanks Jewels. I know what you mean about the ‘like’ issue. Hopefully, something will be done about it pronto and it seems like Ireland is far from being alone in having these issues.

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