Irish Examiner articles spark TD’s fury over patient safety

INDEPENDENT TD James Breen was ordered from the Dáil yesterday after waving an Irish Examiner story about MRSA fatalities at Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and demanding greater patient safety in hospitals.

Mr Ahern was taking questions about Monaghan General Hospital from Sinn Féin TD Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin when Mr Breen stood and interrupted.

He waved photocopies of two recent newspaper reports on MRSA - the first an Irish Examiner story from this Tuesday which revealed that seven people with the superbug had died over a 10-day period.

Pointing to the article, Mr Breen demanded the Taoiseach “look at this newspaper heading”, saying it exposed the inadequate level of patient safety in hospitals.

Ceann Comhairle, Dr Rory O’Hanlon, repeatedly asked the Clare TD to resume his seat, but Mr Breen refused to do so.

Instead, he demanded that both the Taoiseach and Tánaiste Mary Harney tell him when the problem of MRSA would be tackled, saying people were dying from the superbug.

He said he was “sick of hearing what the Government is spending on health” when the problem persisted in hospitals across the country.

Mr Breen contracted MRSA in spring 2004, was seriously ill for some time, and, even after recovering, failed to regain full strength in his right arm.

“I nearly lost my life as a result of contracting it,” he said yesterday.

Mr Ahern did not respond to Mr Breen’s demands for answers, and instead waited in silence as the Ceann Comhairle attempted to deal with the matter. When Mr Breen refused to sit down, he was ordered from the House.

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