A LOCAL woman has spoken of “a nightmare experience” during which she was treated “appallingly” at the Royal Victoria Hospital’s A&E department. Ann McLaughlin (64) was brought to A&E on the evening of Tuesday, May 22 on the advice of a Beldoc after she had been violently sick for five days.

The Falls Court resident told the Andersonstown News that her experience made her feel like “a bag lady”.

Ann, who suffers from emphysema and primary immune deficiency, said an ambulance was arranged to take her and her daughter Patricia to the RVH.

“We were told that there was a waiting list of three hours for an ambulance. I couldn’t walk over in that state and it arrived around 11pm. I was being sick in the ambulance and my blood pressure was sky-high,” she said.

“I was left sitting in the A&E reception and wasn’t made comfortable in any way. I was still being sick and luckily my daughter was with me and had brought a blanket and a towel for my head as I was just sitting there shaking like a leaf. I felt like a bag lady. Eventually, this must have been around 2am, I was taken to triage when I got a drip to rehydrate me. I suffer from chronic headaches and asked could the light in my cubicle be dimmed to ease the pain in my head. I was told around 3.15am that I was finished, that was me done as the drip had finished and that I could go home. I was still being sick and kept saying I couldn’t go home.”

Ann says that she doesn’t know how she made it to the waiting room but that she had to phone a taxi for herself when she got there as she had earlier told her daughter to go on home.

“I had to sort a taxi for myself. It was deserted outside and I had to wait for 45 minutes for a taxi to come and get me. I couldn’t walk out on my own so the taxi man had to come in.”

A spokesperson for the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust said: “We are sorry that anyone should feel that their care didn’t meet expectations.

“We have a robust complaints procedure and would urge this patient to contact the Complaints Department 028 9063 0023 to discuss any issues she may have.”