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Mary Dillon

Mary sent home – no radiographer available

A West Clare  woman  had what she described as a “dreadful” experience at the University of Limerick Hospital last week.  Originally from Kilkee but now living in Lahasheeda, Mary Dillon, who underwent treatment for breast cancer in June 2013, recently had related health issues.
“In the last four weeks, my breast got inflamed. I was on antibiotics for a week,” she explained.
Last year, Mary, who, along with her husband, is a retired teacher, received six weeks of radiotherapy treatment in Limerick, although her surgery was in Galway. Following treatment from her GP, Mary was advised to attend UL hospital in Limerick last Tuesday week.
“I was there at 3.20pm, in the Surgical Assessment Unit, and I got a bed at 7.10pm. In the meantime, I had a few examinations. I gave urine samples and they took my temperature. All the routine stuff,” she explained.
In preparation for surgery the following day, Mary was put on an intravenous drip. Having not eaten for several hours, she requested some food. “The dinner lady brought me in a cup of tea and a sandwich. I wolfed it down,” she laughed.
However, as she began to settle in for the night, it emerged that Mary was in the wrong ward. “I went up another flight of stairs and was put into another ward,” she said, before revealing that, feeling hungry again, she had to make do with visiting the hospital shop. “I had a bottle of water and a bag of jellies. I went up to the room and got ready for bed,” she recalled.
In conversation with a nurse, Mary was told she would be detained for at least five days. “I said I thought I’d be going home tomorrow. She said that my breast would have to be drained and I’d have to have an ultrasound. So I got my head around that. I got into the bed but overhead there was a massive air conditioning vent. I asked the night attendant was there any chance he could turn it off,” she remembered.
Unable to sleep, Mary had to take remedial action in the early hours of the morning. “At 3.30am, I went down to the foot of the bed to see if I could curl up and nod off. Six o’clock came and they came around and pumped more stuff into my arm. At 9am, the team came around. The nurse examined me and marked me up with a permanent marker,” she said.
Prepared for her scan and possible further treatment, Mary was soon stunned to learn she was on her way home.
“I was told ‘we have no radiographer to do what we want to do,” she revealed. Mary was told the radiographer would not be available for a week.
“I got my prescription and l left at 11.50am. There was nobody there when I left. The file was on my trolley. I took it and I found the nurses’ station. I said ‘I’m taking this with me now.’ At that point, I was really just making a little stand. So I gave it to her and went down on the lift and went home,” she said.
This week, Mary travelled to Galway for treatment on her ongoing ailment.

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