Outrage as UHG tells another suicidal patient to ‘go home’

University Hospital Galway

A family who brought a relative to UHG’s Emergency Department with open wounds following a suicide attempt were told to bring him home or get him to join the Darkness into Light walk the following morning.

The family brought the man to the ED last Friday night believing he would be admitted immediately due to his serious injuries and psychotic state.

However, he was only treated for his injuries – the doctor said he was not qualified to treat the patient for any psychiatric condition, His family were told they could bring him on the Darkness into Light walk which was to take place on Salthill Prom the following morning.

Tim Broderick, a county councillor, said he had been contacted by the family who were stunned by their treatment at UHG.

“It’s worse than shocking, it’s appalling. He had open wounds, clear evidence of a suicide attempt, yet he was urged to go home or take part in a walk about suicide awareness. It’s just beyond anything I’ve heard of,” he said.

The family continually refused to take the man home, and he was eventually admitted to the psychiatric unit.

By Monday morning, there were 52 patients being cared for in the unit – under a union agreement, the unit is only supposed to have 45 inpatients.

A spokesperson for the Saolta University Health Care Group – which operates UHG – said psychiatric patients admitted to the ED are managed on a case-by-case basis, and the hospital is “streamlining processes to improve waiting times”.
For more on this story, and details of similar occurrences in the past at UHG, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. Buy a digital edition of this week’s paper here, or download the app for Android or iPhone.