A trio of bone fractures in one family over just six weeks early last year certainly made one Cork family wonder at the unfortunate power of three.
For Tara O’Mahony and her family, however, it was the care they received and the staff who delivered that left them praising all involved. Tara recalls that they certainly “saw plenty” of the staff in South Infirmary Hospital in Cork over the Easter break. Outlining the “outstanding care” her family members received, Tara described how it was her daughter first who broke her arm, followed by her older daughter who broke her wrist and finally her mum who suffered a hand fracture.
“The staff in the South Infirmary were absolutely brilliant. The treatment we got was excellent. In fact the whole process was so straightforward and easy, from the break right through to the discharge,” she said.
Tara’s four-year-old daughter Bronagh fell off her slide over the Easter weekend, just weeks into the pandemic. .
“Initially she was seen in ED and they could see on the x-ray that there was a clean break on the arm and the bones just weren’t lining up. They said that she would need surgery to realign the bones and that she might even need pins put in. So she had a temporary soft cast put on and we were sent home and given an appointment for surgery the next morning in South Infirmary,” she explained.
South Infirmary in Cork was one hospital that was formerly an elective surgery hospital that ceased elective activity and started to carry out planned trauma care in response to the COVID-19 crisis. The change meant that trauma patients across Ireland continued to receive the treatment they needed with no reduction to the quality of their care.
Trauma patients requiring surgery, like Bronagh, are diagnosed in either the Minor Injury Unit or in the Emergency Department and then booked in to hospitals like South Infirmary.
The net effect was that patients could spend as little time as was safely required for their treatment in hospital. It also meant that fractures would not go untreated and adverse consequences would have to be dealt with at a later date. Huge credit is due to the great many staff across the system whose flexibility and willingness to adapt allowed this to happen.
“It was all very straightforward and Bronagh was booked in for 6am the following morning. When we went in, she was taken straight up to the ward. As it was the middle of the pandemic, there was nobody else there and we had the place to ourselves. She was taken for surgery 30 minutes later where she received excellent care. Luckily there were no complications and she didn’t need to have pins put in,” said Tara.
“We had to stay until 4pm on the ward and then she was discharged. The nurses had been checking on her every 30 minutes to make sure she was ok. I can’t thank them enough for how they took care of her.”
She said the hospital staff gave Bronagh incredible care at every stage of her journey to recovery.
“They were great to her when she first went in. She was a bit freaked out and didn’t want to wear a mask but she relaxed a lot when she saw all the Easter eggs that had been donated for the children there. They were a bit worried that she didn’t have any pain at all in the arm but I think that was thanks largely to her happiness at getting the Easter eggs,” joked Tara.
Bronagh had to return twice to the orthopaedic clinic after her surgery.
“It all went so smoothly. We were in and out so quickly for her appointments. Then for her last appointment, she was x-rayed to make sure the bones were healed properly and then she got the cast off,” said mum Tara.
“It was lucky that it was all so straightforward and easy because my older daughter fell and broke her wrist only a few weeks later. And then my mum fell off a wall and broke her hand – all within the space of six weeks. Hopefully that will be the end of the breaks for a long time.”