Injured US tourist, who felt she was 'being held hostage' by Irish healthcare system, airlifted home

Injured US tourist, who felt she was 'being held hostage' by Irish healthcare system, airlifted home

An injured American tourist, who broke her hip while attempting to drive a mobility scooter up the gangplank of a cruise ship in Cobh more than three weeks ago, has finally been airlifted home.

Robyn Coyle, a 66-year-old former lawyer, left Cork University Hospital at around 7am on Saturday, accompanied by her husband Richard, a retired IT worker.

The couple boarded their transport back to the US at around 9am. Robyn, a California native who is partially deaf, said she is relieved that her “nightmare” is finally coming to an end.

She first came to Cork at the start of the month via cruise ship. Incredibly, it was the fourth time the woman had attempted to book the trip.

The first time she was forced to cancel due to work, the second time she cancelled due to injury after being in a bad car crash, and the third time it was due to bereavement.

Robyn thought the fourth time, having actually boarded the vessel, would be the charm — until disaster struck mere days into the cruise.

The woman and her husband took a day trip to Blarney and, on the way back, Robyn tried to board the vessel on her mobility scooter, which she has used ever since she was injured in a bad car crash.

Her scooter hit the lip of the gangplank, however, and overturned.

Robyn was flung to the ground and ended up breaking her hip.

Injured US tourist, who felt she was 'being held hostage' by Irish healthcare system, airlifted home

Initially, said Robyn, doctors at CUH told her she would have to have surgery, but said they were not comfortable doing the operation at the facility.

As such, Robyn was taken to Tallaght Hospital and was scheduled for surgery there.

Doctors at Tallaght Hospital were also cautious, however, and decided not to operate. Robyn was sent back down to CUH.

At the time, the woman and her husband hit out at the Irish health system, saying communication was very poor and that staff members at both hospitals failed to outline her exact diagnosis to her or a clear and concise treatment plan.

Robyn also said facilities were not up to standard, and spent the last three weeks with not even a TV to take her mind off the intense pain and said in three weeks not once had anyone asked her if she wanted her hair washed.

She said her stay in hospital had been “demoralising”, “embarrassing”, and “humiliating”.

Financially, Robyn’s insurance will pay for some of the costs of her accident, including roughly $60,000 for an air ambulance to the US, while her husband’s insurance will cover others and savings will make up the rest.


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