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‘I literally begged for HSE intervention to save lives’

Staring by means of the window, they watched their mom die alone. “She was in that room on her own… Not knowing we were there,” says Christine Brohan, recalling the loss of life from Covid of her mom Kathleen Thompson in February. “For a woman who loved company to die on her own…”

The newest particular report from RTÉ Investigates (RTÉ One, 9.35pm) appears on the plight of nursing dwelling residents in the course of the third wave of Covid in early 2021. The post-Christmas surge caught the Government abruptly. But, virtually a 12 months into the pandemic, protocols have been presupposed to be in place to ensure, as far as attainable, the protection of these in care houses.

Barry O’Kelly’s concise and hard-hitting inquiry reveals worrying gaps within the system. And the HSE comes throughout as far too sanguine. That is the one attainable conclusion as it’s revealed a care dwelling employee had written in confidence to the chief alerting it to breaches in Covid measures at a facility.

“I am begging the HSE to go into the home and try save the residents,” the girl wrote in an e-mail. The HSE didn’t reply till the following day.

Even then it appeared in little rush to intervene. A letter in response acknowledged “it had been provided with reassurance by… management that they will do everything possible to address the natures of the concerns raised”.

There is agency and decisive motion. And then there’s a hand-waving e-mail saying “management will do everything possible to address the natures of the concerns raised”.

The whistleblower is understandably nonetheless upset on the HSE’s reluctance to behave. “I begged for intervention to try and save lives,” she says. “I literally begged them”.

RTÉ Investigates: Care In Covid is de facto three documentaries in a single. O’Kelly opens with a report a few facility in north Co Dublin, the place 18 residents would die in the course of the 2020 first wave.

“You think about her – is she gone?” says Stephen O’Shaughnessy, who couldn’t be together with his mom Florence as she died. “It doesn’t feel like you can go through the normal grieving process.”

O’Kelly then strikes on to a house the place questions have been raised with the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) about requirements of care.

There have been issues that Covid and Covid-negative residents had been positioned in the identical space. And a few affected person left alone in a darkened room. A whistleblower recalled receiving directions not to answer the person’s calls. “She just said to me don’t go down if he rings the bell, just ignore the bell.”

The report concludes with the third wave and the loss of life of Kathleen Thompson. Her son, John Thompson, requires an official investigation into the care dwelling sector’s dealing with of the virus. It’s a sobering reminder that it’s only after Covid has handed that the nation can really reckon with its successes – and failures – in the course of the pandemic.

“When she did pass away my brother had to go around to the front to tell them,” provides Christine. “It is something we are never going to get over.”

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