A hospital in Kilkenny sent a woman home wearing just a hospital gown, days after she was admitted following a "serious psychotic episode".
The woman was still in "desperate need" of psychiatric care, her family told the Carlow Nationalist.
“We were just shocked … where was the care?”
“If you judge a country by how they treat their most vulnerable, then we are absolute savages," said a relative.
“On the Sunday she had a serious psychotic episode at her home; she wrecked the house, the guards were called, there were ambulances outside the house – it was terrible.
The woman, aged in her 40s, was taken to St Luke's Hospital in Kilkenny by ambulance accompanied by Gardaí.
After being admitted, her family said she was "left on a trolley for days" in the emergency department before being suddenly discharged four days later.
When she got out of the taxi in a hospital gown, it barely covered her at the back; it was minus one degree outside that day.
“A woman suffering a mental health breakdown is then sent home in a taxi, in a gown. A vulnerable adult with mental health issues put in a car with a man, a stranger, putting her at risk … putting the taxi driver at risk; she could have grabbed the wheel or anything. It’s a disgrace," her family said.
“When she got out of the taxi in a hospital gown, it barely covered her at the back; it was minus one degree outside that day. The house was still in bits; imagine her left off on her own there?”
In response to the Nationalist, St Luke's hospital issued the following statement: "St Luke’s General Hospital cannot comment on individual patient cases. Should any patient or family have a serious complaint about the care they have received at the hospital, the hospital has a robust complaints procedure, and all complaints or concerns will be fully investigated and followed up with the family.
"St Luke’s General Hospital follows all appropriate national guidelines regarding admission and discharge and works closely with its community partners to provide the best and safest possible care pathway to its patients. Like all hospitals throughout the country, St Luke’s General Hospital remains very busy and has experienced significant pressure throughout the last number of weeks."
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