A patient on a hospital stretcher who was asked to remove some of her clothing in public has spoken out about her ordeal.
Lyndsay Forde said she felt mortified by the request from a member of staff at Wexford General Hospital and is still haunted by it.
The 27-year-old mother-of-one was involved in a crash on Wexford’s quay front and was brought by ambulance to the hospital suffering from whiplash.
“I was brought up to the hospital and was on a stretcher for around three hours before I saw a doctor. They brought me out into the main corridor. It was very busy. I was lying in the middle of the A&E and was then taken into the corridor as there were no beds,” Ms Forde explained.
“I had bad whiplash. Eventually someone came over to me and said they needed to do an X-ray. The carer said they had to cut my clothes off in the corridor because I was in a neck brace, but I didn’t let them do that.”
She was told that “everything had to come off my top half, including my underwear,” and the carer proceeded to help her out of her top and bra.
“My sister Kiera was helping me by standing in front of me. I was lying flat on my back. I didn’t realise how many people were around me. I sat up and I remember seeing a guy looking straight at me. I was really embarrassed. I was mortified.”
Describing her experience as “degrading”, the health care student who plans to train to be a nurse, said she doesn’t want another women to suffer the same humiliating ordeal.
Ms Forde said she is still suffering from stress from the entire episode.
“I don’t blame the staff at all. It’s more of a systemic failure. I just don’t think people get the attention they need up there,” she said. There were trolleys with people on them and they had family members around them. I remember it was very busy. They got me into a gown and brought me down for an X-ray. I waited outside for the radiologist.”
Ms Forde said she got the impression that the staff were overwhelmed.
She attended a meeting with management of Wexford General Hospital on Tuesday during which she received an apology for the incident.
A HSE spokesperson said it was inappropriate for the organisation to comment on the matter.
Meanwhile, in an email to Health Minister Dr James Reilly, Ms Forde said: “I am writing this email in order to express to you my sadness, outrage and absolute hurt at the state of our health system. I, like many people in this country, have had numerous personal experiences where I have felt the level of care available to myself was not satisfactory. I am guilty of turning a blind eye at times, and accepting that this ‘is just how it is’, not because I want to, but because I am simply so busy with my life, and my family. I just don’t have time to shout and roar, and be just another voice who doesn’t get their chance to be heard.”
Describing her experience on the trolley as one that will haunt her forever, she informed the minister that she couldn’t let it pass without making herself heard.
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