Tallaght University Hospital (TUH) is to conduct an internal review after a 21-year-old woman’s surgery was delayed because she missed a phone call from the hospital.
mily Larkin, a student from Lucan, described it as “crazy” that she will now have to wait longer for surgery that she needs because she wasn’t in a position to answer her phone.
Due to a compromised immune system, Emily has to have surgeries on her feet as she gets infections which she says are “dangerous to just leave sitting there”.
Upon noticing a missed call from the day ward in TUH on Thursday, Emily said she rang back only to be told because she had not answered her phone, the surgery slot had been offered to someone else.
She said the hospital staff member told her it would be at least another four weeks before she was contacted for surgery.
“It’s crazy – I rang them back and they just said: ‘no, that’s it, you’ve missed it’. There was no time given to me to ring them back to confirm my availability by the end of the day or anything, it is just crazy.
“This isn’t my first rodeo – I have had five surgeries with Tallaght, so when I saw the number of the missed call I knew it was them. I’d say it was 40-50 minutes tops between when they rang me and I returned the call.
“The lady told me that I didn’t ring back quick enough. I told her this was a hospital for surgery and it’s done on the basis of need, not who can phone back the fastest.
“I really need this surgery,” Emily said.
Emily said the hospital told her to make a formal complaint if she was unhappy with the process.
Upon taking to Twitter and speaking to media outlets about her situation, the primary school teaching student said she received a phone call from a member of hospital management this evening to apologise.
The senior member of staff at TUH told her an internal review and audit would be carried out to find out how the situation arose.
In a statement to Independent.ie, TUH said, “At times where a last minute appointment becomes available due to a patient cancellation, the slot will need to be filled urgently to ensure the slot is not lost. In this scenario an alternate patient will be contacted by phone.”
“Generally, the Hospital’s waiting lists are managed in line with national guidance – this includes notifying the patient of their admission date by phone, letter and text.
Emily told Independent.ie that she was not being offered a cancellation slot on Thursday as she had already received two recent letters from TUH notifying her she would be due for surgery soon.
She said it will be at least another four weeks before she is now called for surgery again.
Emily, who is the founder and Director of Invisible Disability Ireland, said she is keen to have the surgery quickly as she also must undergo heart surgery in the next six months.
“I’m very disheartened with the health service. I get that they’ve just had a cyber attack but this is not how to run a health system,” Emily said.