'Truly shocking' - Waterford TDs react to dead bodies scandal at UHW
Two Waterford TDs have expressed shock and deep concern about reports in today's Irish Times regarding the mortuary at University Hospital Waterford.
The report centred on a letter written by four pathologists claiming dead bodies had been left on trolleys, partially decomposing, due to issues with the facility at the hospital.
Sinn Féin TD for Waterford David Cullinane has described the contents of the medical letter as "extremely disturbing and alarming."
“I have been aware for some time of concerns by consultant pathologists at the poor state of the mortuary and postmortem services at University Hospital Waterford. I raised these concerns at a recent meeting between Oireachtas members and the South/South West Hospital Group," he added.
“The letter signed by four consultant pathologists is truly shocking. It says the mortuary lacks sufficient refrigeration and the situation is so serious that some bodies simply decompose, causing “almost unspeakable” distress to families, the four warned. It also warned of health risks to bereaved families and the wider public."
“The Government need to urgently invest in the mortuary and Postmortem facilities at the hospital. Management at UHW are awaiting approval for capital funding. This must be made available in the HSE’s upcoming capital budget.”
The HSE released a short statement today saying this work would begin in 2019.
Fianna Fail TD Mary Butler also expressed her shock and disgust at the reports and called on the Minister for Health to make a statement on the matter.
“The contents of this letter are deeply distressing and will be of great concern to families whose loved ones have passed at the hospital. The issues raised by the pathologists highlight the ongoing failures by the HSE to manage concerns, many of which have been raised time and time again."
“The mortuary at UHW was deemed unfit for purpose in 2004, and a brief for a new mortuary was completed in 2006. Despite being given the green light in 2013, the project has not been progressed any further," Butler added.
“The fact that four pathologists had to put pen to paper illustrates how frustrated consultants are with the way the health service is being mismanaged by this government. Even the most basic services are suffering."
“We have always had a history in this country of treating death with dignity, but the situation outlined by the pathologists in this letter is truly appalling, unacceptable and shameful."
“The Minister must ensure that an investigation is established and a solution found. The current situation cannot be allowed to continue. Families in Waterford, and indeed across the country, deserve better,” concluded Deputy Butler.