Waterford hospital apologises over consultant's 'completely unacceptable' behaviour 

Apologies issued to two women
Waterford hospital apologises over consultant's 'completely unacceptable' behaviour 

University Hospital Waterford has apologised to two women over their experiences at its emergency department. Picture: Denis Minihane

University Hospital Waterford has apologised to the family of 15-year-old girl for "completely unacceptable" treatment by a consultant at its emergency department.

It follows on from another apology provided to a female patient over an interaction with the same doctor.

The hospital's general manager accepted the incidents had caused the women "unnecessary upset and distress" and said she would personally speak to the consultant.

The most recent apology concerned a 15-year-old girl who had presented to A&E in pain but was refused entry and not assessed.

In the other case, a 29-year-old woman was in severe pain with long-term ovary issues and was given a "dressing down" by the consultant in front of other patients and staff. She received her apology in 2020.

Neither woman wished to be named when contacted.

The consultant, Brendan McCann, who is the clinical lead for the hospital's emergency department, told the Irish Examiner he is not allowed to comment but said A&E has been especially busy and stressful during the pandemic, which was exacerbated by the cyberattack on the HSE last year.

UHW declined to comment.

Written apologies

The hospital wrote to both women to "sincerely apologise" for their "experience in the emergency department".

"It is completely unacceptable that any staff member would communicate with anyone in that way," it said.

It added that the general manager had personally addressed the matter with the consultant.

"We regret that you and your daughter's experience here in UHW caused you both unnecessary upset and distress. Thank you for bringing this matter to my attention," wrote general manager Grace Rothwell.

When writing to the older woman, Ms Rothwell said: "I wholly agree that the manner in which he engaged with you is not in keeping with the values of dignity and respect and is not supported by hospital management and staff."

In her complaint to the HSE, she alleged she had been "verbally abused" by Dr McCann.

She wrote: "He didn’t examine me, he just called me to the waiting room door and it was at that point I was told in front of all the other patients in the waiting room that I shouldn’t have come to the hospital as I 'don’t look sick'."

She alleged that Dr McCann did not accept that her referral from a private healthcare provider was valid, and again insisted to her that she "shouldn’t have come to the hospital”.

"I was extremely upset, embarrassed and in shock and sat back in the waiting area," she said. "I was so upset, I left in pain as I did not want to be seen by someone who thought I was fine by glancing at me up and down in the hallway of the hospital without examining me."

The woman said she "left the hospital in tears and still in pain".

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