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'People are dying' - pleas for a basic emergency service in Roscommon after death of teen

Roscommon Hospital Action Committee has said that there are people dying because of the decision to remove emergency services from the hospital.

Protesters pictured at Leinster House last year
Protesters pictured at Leinster House last year
Image: Photocall Ireland

A SPOKESPERSON FOR the Roscommon Hospital Action Committee has issued a plea for basic emergency services in the county after it emerged that a 19-year-old girl died on a two-hour journey to Galway University Hospital.

Writing in the Irish Independent today Caroline Crawford reveals that the HSE’s National Ambulance Service has apologised to the family of a Elaine Curley, who died after a single vehicle crash at Creggs in November 2011.

Elaine was just 15 minutes away from Roscommon Hospital but was brought first to Portiuncula Hospital in Ballinasloe and then on to Galway. She died en route.

It’s understood that the ambulance crew did not admit her to the hospital in Ballinsloe, but rather made contact with Portiuncula and were then told to bring her to Galway. According to the Irish Independent the crew were initially given inaccurate directions when leaving the scene.

John McDermott of the Roscommon Hospital Action Committee told TheJournal.ie that regardless of the actions of the crew, trauma patients in the area are supposed to be transported directly to Galway since the closure of the emergency department at Roscommon, a journey which takes a minimum of two hours, which he says is unacceptable.

He said that Elaine’s journey took almost three hours, and that she should not have been first transferred to Portiuncula.

McDermott said that this is unacceptable, but that “this is the situation facing the people of Roscommon”:

It goes against all the time frames in a trauma situation. A heart attack victim is supposed to be seen within ninety minutes.

Elaine Curley suffered a massive heart attack as a result in internal bleeding. McDermott said that there had been a surgical team on call in Roscommon that night, and that while the specific services needed for Elaine’s case may not have been on hand, in could have been possible to stabilise her.

He’s issued a plea for basic emergency services to be returned to Roscommon, and said that “we were never looking for specialist services”, but he said:

People are dying because of this, and we have notified the HSE about them. Every reason given for the closure of Roscommon A&E has proven to be false. This was a political decision and we will now make it a huge issue for any future elections.

McDermott, who is a family friend of the Curleys, said that they are very brave people who don’t want to see others go through what they have gone through.

July 2011: Roscommon Hospital A&E to close Monday>

Denis Naughten loses Fine Gael whip over Roscommon Hospital vote>

Enda Kenny made election pledge to protect Roscommon A&E>

About the author:

Emer McLysaght

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