Pat Kenny confronts Stephen Donnelly about his daughter’s ‘horrific’ experience in Dublin’s ER

Radio presenter Pat Kenny has shared details of what he described as a “horrific experience” his daughter had in the emergency room at St Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin.

r Kenny said he and his wife Cathy took one of their two daughters to hospital after she was “banged on her head” and “beaten unconscious for several minutes”.

The Newstalk host raised the matter with Health Secretary Stephen Donnelly while discussing the wide range of issues facing the health service, including the pressures hospitals are expected to face this winter.

“My own horrible experience at St Vincent’s Hospital with my daughter over the summer doesn’t make me very optimistic about how things will be in the winter,” Mr Kenny said.

“My concern was obviously for my daughter, who fell, hit her head, blood shed, passed out for a few minutes and had no vital signs checked all night.

“They said ‘you’ll get a scan tomorrow morning,’ at that point luckily she wasn’t, but she could have been dead with a bleed in the brain … Then a doctor has the gall to tell my wife when the bandage was taken off and my daughter said ‘please put it back on, it will relieve the discomfort’, he gave her a fresh bandage and said ‘do it yourself’.

In response, Minster Donnelly said: “That doesn’t sound right.”

“But these are people who have run out of empathy, to be perfectly honest, run out of road, run out of empathy,” Kenny added.

To deal with waiting times in emergency rooms, Minister Donnelly said the health service was recruiting more A&E consultants.

“One of the things I’ve experienced is going into the ER at 11 or 12 a.m. at night, you have a lot of patients on trolleys, a lot of patients waiting for a decision on whether they need to be admitted or they need to be admitted can be sent home, but there are no specialists there because we haven’t had enough emergency medicine specialists in the past,” he said.

“So I recently approved 51 additional consultants to go to hospitals across the country. That’s a start, we have to go further… It’s all well and good that there is a junior doctor there and they work very hard, but ultimately it’s the ER who can make these decisions better than anyone else.”

In a statement released to, a spokesman for St Vincent’s Hospital said: “SVUH does not comment on individual patients to third parties. We are committed to providing our patients with the highest standards of care to achieve the best patient health outcomes.

“We are the only Level 4 hospital in Ireland to undergo a three-yearly independent assessment of the quality of care we provide by the international accreditation body, JCI, and we encourage all patients to give us direct feedback so we can continually improve services in our hospital.

“We take every complaint very seriously and our patient counseling and support team is dedicated to assisting patients who are unhappy with their care experience at our hospital.”


Health Secretary Stephen Donnelly.

Minister Donnelly said the HSE will also begin its “major push” to tackle “twindemia” with the roll out of the flu vaccine and third Covid-19 vaccine for those aged 65 and over and those with compromised immune systems.

“So next big push now Monday week 3rd October. The flu vaccine is free for a great many groups, the COVID vaccine is free for everyone and really my request and the request of our public health workers is that everyone go and get the COVID vaccine [and] Get the flu shot,” he said.

“We need all healthcare workers to get the vaccine and Ireland has never had mandatory vaccination and that’s not something we entertain. Much work has been done from hospital to hospital to raise prices and some hospitals have done it very well. It’s increased quite a bit over the years. This year it is more important than ever because this year we are facing a perfect storm.”

Minister Donnelly said Ireland’s “incredible” healthcare workers have been “sick and stressed” for two and a half years and “it’s going to be a difficult winter” for them.

He said the Government’s position was that “all private” hospital capacity “must be utilised” if it is needed for public patients in the coming months.

“There is a good relationship between the public and private systems. What I reiterated to the HSE last night was that we must use every private bed, every private MRI, every DEXA scanner, every x-ray, every nursing home bed and every shared bed. This winter requires the mobilization of the entire healthcare system, public and private,” he added.

In the meantime, he said the government is awaiting the results of an HSE review of the emergency room at Navan Hospital.

Minister Donnelly said the clinical team at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda had told him the proposal to re-route critically ill patients to Louth Hospital could not be made possible given their current resources.

“I would never stand above a situation where patient risk is simply transferred from one hospital to another because that doesn’t work for the patient,” he said. Pat Kenny confronts Stephen Donnelly about his daughter’s ‘horrific’ experience in Dublin’s ER

Fry Electronics Team

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