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The hospital group had a record-breaking number of patients on trolleys earlier this year. Alamy Stock Photo

Vigil announced in memory of patients who died on trolleys at University Hospital Limerick

The Mid-West Hospital Campaign group announced the vigil.

A CANDLE-LIT VIGIL, remembering patients who have died having languished on trolleys in the persistently-overcrowded University Hospital Limerick, is to take place outside the entrance of the hospital next Sunday.

The Mid-West Hospital Campaign (MWHC) group, which has called for the reopening of 24-hour accident and emergency units in Clare, north Tipperary and Limerick city and county, announced the vigil.

It has released a statement after the HSE apologised to the family of Aoife Johnston (16), from Shannon, Co Clare, 16-year old girl who died of sepsis and meningitis having languished for 12 hours on a trolley at UHL.

A damning UHL internal review which was provided to Aoife’s family in recent days, found “serious failings” in her care at UHL prior to her death there on December 19 last.

The report found Aoife waited 12 hours in UHL’s severely overcrowded emergency department and was not treated for sepsis until it was too late.

The review also found that delays in her treatment breached national guidelines on sepsis management.

A number of patients have died at the hospital over the years against the backdrop of overcrowding in the Limerick hospital, which has the only 24-hour Emergency Department for a catchment of 400,000.

In 2009, 24-hour A&E units in Clare, Nenagh, and St John’s, Limerick, were reconfigured to UHL.

The MWHC group stated: “We cannot allow this to keep happening.”

It said its vigil would take place outside the entrance gates of UHL at 2pm, Sunday 17th December.

“This vigil is to remember the thousands who have spent time in the Emergency Department lying on trolleys, sitting on chairs in an overcrowded and dysfunctional Emergency Department,” it said.

The group said it and others had grown increasingly concerned at health provision in the mid west region.

It said that, despite political promises to mitigate the trolley crisis at UHL, “the numbers on trolleys have increased throughout the year”.

“Political parties both in Government and Opposition have not and will not commit to reopening our Emergency Departments as evidenced by their own words in the media, at committee meetings including the recent appearance of this Campaign at the Petitions and Ombudsman Committee,” it said.

“They have chosen instead to stand with the medical experts, HSE and the management at UHL which has failed our communities time and time again.”

“This week the Johnston family from Shannon have finally got the UHL report on the death of their daughter in UHL on 19th December 2022.

“The report was delivered just prior to Aoife’s 1st anniversary despite the family being promised it would be available within 3 months.

“We cannot allow this to keep happening. All are welcome to attend [the vigil] on Sunday. Bring your candles, torches etc.”

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