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Family angry at shortage of ward nurses at UHG

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The family of an 84 year old woman, who died from a head injury sustained while a patient in UHG, criticised the severe shortage of nurses available to cope with the demand.

Coroner for West Galway, Dr Ciaran MacLoughlin, agreed with the family of Kathleen (Katie) Ludden, of Ballinaboy, Clifden, that when the ward was full to capacity, with 30 people, it would be obviously difficult for staff to cope.

Mrs Ludden’s daughters, Geraldine and Ann, were forced to leave their mother’s bedside due to an outbreak of the Norovirus (Winter Vomiting Bug) in St Enda’s Ward in February last year – Geraldine said that their mother would still be alive if they had been able to stay with her and give her the one-to-one care she so desperately needed.

They claimed that their mother suffered four falls – obvious by bruises on her body – during her time in the acute medical ward, but only three were recorded.

And they disputed claims that they were informed after each of these falls – one of which caused a bleed in her brain.

“We were informed of two falls – she would not have been left there if we had been told (about the others),” Geraldine Ludden said.

The family also said that their mother should have been restrained, as she was at risk of falling, but were told that there was strict protocol in this regard.

Mrs Ludden was initially admitted to UHG on February 7 last year, with a long-standing cough. She had a history of battling oesophageal cancer, but the post- mortem examination showed that her past medical complications had not actually caused her death.

Helen Hanrahan, assistant director of nursing, told the inquiry that during the daytime there were seven nurses available to care for a total of 30 patients – at night-time that number dropped to between three and four.

In this particular ward, there are 13 beds in the ‘long ward’, eight in another, and more in single rooms.

Geraldine Ludden said that in all the time she had spent with her mother, in the two weeks before her death, she never saw the full complement of staff on duty.

“I’ve seen patients left there who were not given food, no one cared – that’s why I stayed with her,” she said.

“Then I was put out (due to the virus), and brought back when she was dying. It was not just my mother, it was every other patient – I’m sorry they didn’t have anyone looking after them.

“When she was moved to the private ward, no one came to her. We did the full nursing, the nurses only came in to take her blood pressure, unless we specifically asked.”

Ms Hanrahan, who was not personally involved in Mrs Ludden’s care, said that she was sorry that her family felt that their mother did not get the care she needed.

She said that St Enda’s Ward, being an acute ward, had never been without the full complement of staff during the recent embargo. And, she advised the Coroner that a national task force was currently examining the staff-patient ratio in Irish hospitals.

Dr MacLoughlin remarked that this was an issue that was not going to diminish, referring to an earlier witness, Dr Anthony O’Regan, a consultant in respiratory medicine. He had said that there was a huge proportion of elderly patients over the age of 80 occupying beds in Irish hospitals.

“There will be ‘end of life’ issues for a lot of these people, because of their age,” the Coroner said.

“Safety with falls is a huge issue, and for one person (nurse) to look after eight people is a lot. Four staff for 30 patients seems a lot.”

Mrs Ludden died on February 20 last year, two weeks after her admission. In the subsequent post mortem examination, carried out by Dr Birgids Tietz, she found that the tumour had been successfully treated, and that the cause of death was her last fall.

Dr MacLoughlin returned a verdict in accordance with the medical evidence that Mrs Ludden died from cardio respiratory failure due to an intracranial haemorrhage due to an accidental fall. He added that while there were existing comorbidities when she was admitted to hospital, these did not cause her death.

“I’d like to make this observation – that in a ward where there are a number of people acutely  ill, the authorities may look at staffing numbers, and see if it is sufficient to meet the needs of the patients,” he said.

“It is important that we all know there are protocols to restrain people’s freedom. It is taken very seriously, and can be the subject of disciplinary proceedings. I wouldn’t like to see myself restrained if I didn’t feel it necessary.

“In hindsight, people do fall, maybe if they were restrained they wouldn’t have fallen, but how would a patient have felt if they were restrained against their will, if they were compos mentis. There is no doubt you have to take into account the patient’s wishes in a hospital environment.”

He expressed his sincere sympathies to Mrs Ludden’s family on the tragic circumstances of her unexpected and sudden death.

CITY TRIBUNE

Car enthusiasts say they have “every right” to use Salthill as event confirmed

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Galway Bay fm newsroom – Car enthusiasts say they have “every right” to use Salthill this weekend as an event has been announced for Sunday.

It’s been confirmed by organisers on social media – who say they’re being unfairly portrayed in a negative light.

In a statement, the Galway Car Scene group say they pay road tax like all other road users – and they have “every right” to be in Salthill this weekend.

It comes as they’ve confirmed the event will be taking place there on Sunday as originally planned.

They add it’s unfair to accuse them of blocking up Salthill and other parts of the city given the chronic traffic issues every day of the week.

They’ve also created an online petition calling for a designated place for car enthusiasts to go – which has so far gathered almost 250 signatures.

It claims the car enthusiast community in Galway has been unfairly painted as a negative and anti-social group.

The group say they’re happy to go elsewhere, but say any time they try to find a venue they’re shut out.

The event planned for Sunday has encountered significant opposition, much of which is based on a previous “Salthill Sundays” event held in May.

Those opposed say they’re not against an event of this kind in principle – but they strongly feel that Salthill just isn’t the right venue.

It’s also argued that if the organisers want to be taken seriously, they have to engage with stakeholders like Galway City Council and Gardaí to ensure a well-planned and safe event.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Cars down to one-way system on Salthill Promenade

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A one-way system of traffic may be introduced along the Promenade in Salthill to facilitate the introduction of temporary cycle lanes.

The suggestion appeared to come as a shock to some City Council members who supported the cycle lane in a vote last month – one has called for a “full discussion again” on what exactly they had actually approved.

Councillors had voted 17-1 in favour of the principle of providing a cycleway that will stretch from Grattan Road all along the Prom.

The motion that passed at the September meeting proposed that the Council “shall urgently seek” to create a two-way segregated cycle track on a temporary basis along the coastal side of the Prom.

It was agreed that from the Blackrock Tower junction to the Barna Road would be a one-way cycle track.

The motion was voted on without debate, which meant Council officials did not have an opportunity to question the proposal.

At a meeting on Monday, the debate was revisited when Uinsinn Finn, Director of Services for Transportation, indicated that a one-way traffic system would be introduced in Salthill to facilitate a two-way cycle lane from Grattan Road to Blackrock.

This could mean that the outbound lane of traffic, closest to the sea, could be closed to all traffic bar bikes.

Mr Finn said that he would have sought clarity at the previous meeting – if debate were allowed – about what was meant by ‘temporary’.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Galway Christmas Market gets go-ahead for next month

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – It’s the first real sign of a restoration of normality in terms of the retail and hospitality sectors in the city – the return of the Christmas Market next month to Eyre Square.

This week, the City Council’s planning department gave the go-ahead for the outdoor retail and gourmet food ‘spread’ that has been part of the festive season in Galway since 2010.

The exception was last year when, like so many other public gatherings since the Covid crisis broke in March 2020, the event had to be cancelled because of public health concerns.

Christmas Market Organiser, Maria Moynihan Lee, Managing Director of Milestone Inventive, confirmed to the Galway City Tribune, that she had received official confirmation on Thursday from the City Council of the go-ahead being given for the event.

“This is really wonderful news for the city and especially so in terms of the retail and hospitality sectors. For every €1 spent at the market another €3 will be spent on the high street – this will be a real boost for Galway,” she said.

Maria Moynihan Lee confirmed that the market would have an earlier than usual start of Friday, November 12 and would run through until the Wednesday evening of December 22.

(Photo: Declan Colohan)

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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