Hospital denies email claims over patients’ care

CORK University Hospital (CUH) yesterday rejected claims made in a leaked email in relation to patient care but was unable to explain why the allegations were not denied when the matter was brought to its attention by this newspaper four days ago.

CUH hospital manager Tony McNamara said he had investigated the claims made by consultant plastic surgeon Mr Jason Kelly and found they were “erroneous”. However, when asked about the claims in the email last week, he issued a statement saying he couldn’t comment on individual cases and would “internally” follow up the issues.

Mr McNamara received the shocking email from Mr Kelly a month before.

In the correspondence, sent to Mr McNamara and copied to 30 senior hospital staff, Mr Kelly described how a 42-year-old woman with severe burns to her chest and arm pit was left without morphine and a 70-year-old woman had to wait five hours for an arm amputation.

Mr McNamara said yesterday that both patients received the appropriate care and attention.

“I can categorically confirm that in the first instance the 42- year-old lady with severe burns received morphine within 20 minutes of arrival at CUH and thereafter as appropriate. She also had one to one nursing care throughout her treatment.”

He said theatre staff received a request to take the 70-year-old woman who required an amputation at 5.40pm and she was taken into theatre at 7.05pm after the necessary preparatory work was taken care of.

Mr McNamara said Mr Kelly’s email that claimed CUH was in crisis had done enormous damage to the reputation of the hospital and the health service and questioned the surgeon’s loyalty.

“I would expect anybody with a sense of corporate loyalty to pick up the phone and deal with matters internally,” said Mr McNamara, who said that Mr Kelly’s claims were investigated by senior nursing management as they primarily related to nursing issues.

He said the hospital had also fixed a date to meet with Mr Kelly to discuss other issues raised in his email in detail.

Mr Kelly, who was unavailable for comment yesterday, also questioned the hospital’s ability to deal with the transfer of breast cancer surgery from South Infirmary Victoria University Hospital.

Mr McNamara said CUH was satisfied it had the physical capacity to manage the transfer of breast cancer services while the chief executive of the Health Service Executive, Prof Brendan Drumm, also stressed yesterday that the health authority had no intention of moving extra cancer patients into the hospital unless it was fully equipped to deal with them.


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