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Peter Pan Lyric Theatre

OAP left RVH with needle in right arm

By Tiarnán Ó Muilleoir

A BALLYMURPHY pensioner suffering from dementia was released from the Royal Victoria Hospital with a needle still stuck in her arm.

Margaret Kavanagh, who’s 78 and suffers from Alzheimer’s, was being treated at the hospital after a fall in her home last Wednesday morning.

After arriving at the RVH she had a long wait in Accident and Emergency before being seen to. Margaret was moved to a short-stay ward for treatment and after an overnight stay released at approximately 3pm on Thursday afternoon.

Margaret complained of a pain in her right arm when she arrived home and the needle was discovered as Margaret’s daughter helped her take a shower.

The family say that when contacted the hospital   denied responsibility, claiming Margaret had been fully checked before leaving the RVH. However, two district nurses were sent to the pensioner’s bungalow in Westrock Gardens that evening to remove the needle.

Margaret’s daughter, Bernadette Kavanagh, said: “My mum’s experience at the hospital was a nightmare. After keeping an agitated, incontinent, elderly woman on a trolley for a whole evening, this was the last straw. God love her, she was saying her arm was sore. Mummy could have pulled it out herself as with Alzheimer’s she has a tendency to pull at things. I was disgusted.

“The hospital claims she was checked before she left – are they suggesting we put a needle in our mummy’s arm? No-one came near her on the ward except the doctor and a nurse to check her blood pressure. The reality is that there was no check before she left – this was negligent.

“The Emergency Depart-ment was utterly bunged when we were there. The hospital just wanted to get her in and out as fast as possible.

“I know staff are under great pressure but what happened to my mummy is a disgrace.

“We don’t want anything from RVH, we just want them to take greater care in future. My mummy is lucky we care for her full time and found the needle. What if it was an elderly person with dementia returning to respite or a care home?”

A spokesperson for the Belfast Trust said last night: “We cannot discuss an individual’s care or treatment, however we have been in touch with this family to discuss their concerns.”

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