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Hospital patient spent nine days in locker room

A woman who feared she was having a heart attack said she spent nine days in a hospital staff room because of a shortage of beds. Zoe Carlin, 23, was admitted to Altnagelvin Hospital in Londonderry in March after experiencing severe chest pain.

She said she spent more than a week in a “locker room” where she had to use a hand bell to call staff during what she described as a “dehumanising” ordeal. The Western Health and Social Care Trust (WHSCT) said it faced "extreme pressures" in its hospital emergency departments but could not comment on individual cases due to confidentiality.

“For the full nine days I was in this alcove,” she told BBC Radio Foyle’s North West Today programme. “It’s basically the nurses' locker room. You can see the nurses’ lockers with their names on them. They [staff] just said there’s not enough beds,” she added. A privacy screen did not fully cover the room’s doorway and she had no access to a private bathroom. She said she was forgotten about at meal times on three occasions.

A spokesperson for WHSCT said, "We are acutely aware of the continuing challenges and extreme pressures not just in our emergency departments but across both of our acute hospital sites with full escalation of beds on all wards and departments. In the Western Trust, when we learn of examples where care falls below the standard we expect, we review the circumstances and explore ways to improve care in the future."

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Source: BBC News, 11 April 2024


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