Mum’s 20-day wait in hospital bed for vital back surgery


A YOUNG Navan woman’s painful wait for spinal surgery has seen her lying in a hospital bed in Drogheda for over 20 days waiting for vital surgery.
Sinead Finnegan (45), has been in a hospital bed in Drogheda for 20 days, waiting for a bed to become available in Beaumount, where she requires surgery on her spine.
Sinead, of Troytown Heights in Navan, who needs surgery on bulging discs in her spine, is in considerable pain and is taking painkillers. Every day she is hoping a bed will become available in Beaumont, only to be disappointed.
“The wait is causing huge strain on Sinead and the entire family,” says her husband Keith.
“It is a terrible strain on her waiting for news every day. She is in a lot of pain and is afraid of becoming dependent on painkillers although the hospital are good at rotating different drugs to try to prevent this.”
To add to her woes, on Tuesday, officials at Beaumont Hospital suggested she discharge herself from Drogheda, take oral painkillers and attend Beaumont for an appointment on Monday.
"She has decided to stay where she is, because she fears if she leaves the hospital, she could be waiting forever. There is nobody at home during the day to mind her and someone would have to be with her because of the medication," Keith says.
Both Sinead and Keith say Sinead is getting the best of treatment in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, but the waiting is terribly stressful.
“They are doing a great job in Drogheda, but she really needs this procedure in Beaumont.”
“We have two daughters, 17 and 12 and our youngest girl is terrified that her mother is very seriously ill. She thinks there is something we are not telling her because her mother has been in hospital so long,” he says.
Sinead went to the Doctor on Call service in Navan on Monday 4th November and was sent from there to Our Lady’s Hospital in Navan.
“They sent her by ambulance to Drogheda where she was told she would need surgery in Beaumont and she has been there ever since. They say they have to keep her there until she gets a bed in Beaumont and the surgeon there is ready for the operation. He knows she is on the list.
“Every day she is told it is a bed management problem, but she is only likely to be staying in Beaumont for one night to be stabilised after the operation and then she will be going back to Drogheda,” says Keith.
“She was really sure she would have the surgery last Friday and they had her fasting overnight on Thursday, but then again she was told it had been cancelled.”
Keith says the waiting is really bad for her menal health. “She is in limbo, being pumped full of painkillers 24 hours a day.”
“By remaining in Drogheda she is blocking another patient from getting a bed and she’s at risk of developing a dependancy on painkillers.”
“It is so frustrating that she isn’t getting the surgery done.
“As well as the mental strain this is putting on the family, there is a financial strain as well.
‘I am the only one working at the moment and it is costing a fortune driving over and back to see her every day and the parking charges are very high - it is €4 an hour.
“My 12 year old is so distressed by the situation that she needs to see her mother every day, while my 17 year old is putting a brave face on,” he said.
Keith had booked two days off work as the couple had intending to go away to celebrate their wedding anniversary. “Instead I spent one of those days in the hospital and the second one sorting out social welfare forms,” he said.​
Sinead is now so frustrated by all the waiting that she has lodged a complaint with the HSE.​
Cllr Edward Fennessy said “Sinead’s situation is another example of patients suffering due to resource problems endemic within the health service. To prevent these types of problems from developing, Sinn Féin support the immediate roll out of Sláinte Care. Unfortunately, Fine Gael seem intent on preventing its implementation, meaning patients like Sinead must suffer as a consequence.”