A Waterford mother has branded the emergency services in Waterford Regional Hospital “a disgrace”, after being told when she sought an ambulance for her diabetic son that she had rung at a bad time.

Sinéad Devlin, from Coxtown in Dunmore East, telephoned the 999 emergency services when her son Ciaran, who has Type One Diabetes, suffered an attack which left him in a distressed state.

She said that having given seven-year-old Ciaran the advised treatment after he suffered the attack, he was still vomiting, was only semi-conscious and “his bloods continued to drop”. “He clearly needed hospitalisation and I just couldn’t believe there wasn’t an ambulance available”, she complained.

She was informed there had been an accident in Tramore and all three ambulances in service were in attendance there.

“I rang Temple Street and they said I needed an ambulance promptly to take him to hospital, but when I telephoned WRH a second time the controller basically told me I had rung at a bad time”.

She said her information was that the traffic accident in Tramore was not all that serious – there were no fatalities – and yet the city was left without an ambulance for emergencies such as that in which she found herself. She knew her insulin-dependent child was seriously ill.

Luckily, she said, her sister’s husband was able to leave work and drive Ciaran to the hospital. “I think it’s a disgrace that at least one ambulance is not permanently available for what could be life and death situations. I felt totally let down by the system”, she commented.

The emergency arose at around 5 pm on a Monday but the Health Service Executive, queried on the mater, said they couldn’t respond without knowing the exact date and time of the occurrence.