Heartbroken man accuses HSE of lies

by Padraig Conlon

A retired Clondalkin man barred from visiting his wife in hospital has accused the HSE of telling “outright lies”.

Patrick Fitzgerald is currently restricted to spending just one hour a day with his much-loved wife Anne who is a long term resident in Cherry Orchard Hospital.

“I’m fighting to try and see my wife, spend precious time with her” an emotional Fitzgerald told Dublin Gazette.

“But these people who run the hospital, they don’t care.

“They are stopping me from caring for her, it’s appalling, it’s evil.

“I just want to improve her quality of life.”

Anne has been hospitalised since sustaining a life changing brain injury after slipping on ice outside their Clondalkin home while putting the bins out in January 2009.

Following spells in Beaumont and Peamount hospitals a room became available in the Sycamore Unit in Cherry Orchard in 2015.

Patrick was spending up to eight hours a day visiting Anne when he expressed concerns with the HSE over the standard of care she was receiving.

When Anne was left waiting for a scheduled physiotherapy session that never took place, he asked the staff why.

His question went unanswered and when he followed up with other complaints, he says his relationships with some staff members started to deteriorate.

Staff complained about aggressive and abusive behaviour, allegations Patrick totally rejects.

Following a review by the hospital, Patrick’s hours were cut to three hours a day.

When former trade union negotiator Patrick started a picket outside the hospital in protest at this, his hours were cut to just one hour a day, Monday to Thursday.

Patrick and Anne’s story even featured in an October episode of RTÉ Investigates: Troublemakers, about people challenging the HSE.

A mediation process with the HSE was entered into but quickly descended into what Patrick calls a “sham.”

“The HSE only entered into mediation so they could use that as an answer when the media enquired about Anne’s case,” Fitzgerald says.

“They keep saying “mediation is ongoing”- nothing could be further from the truth, it’s one big lie.

“Mediation was stopped in it’s tracks on 3rd October and has been dead in the water since.

“They are just using this as a cover story, there is not likely to ever be more mediation.

“The HSE need to be challenged on this, they are lying through their teeth.

“They will kick you down the road, that is what they’ve done to us.

“I am currently only allowed visit Anne for one hour a day.

“This process could go on until I die.

“Even if they lift my time I’m still going to be in the business of exposing these people.”

In response to the allegations made by Patrick, a HSE spokesperson told Dublin Gazette:

“The HSE believes the independent mediation process is the fairest and most equitable method to resolve this difficult situation.

“The HSE has contacted Mr Fitzgerald to see if he wishes to continue with this process.”

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