independent

Monday 14 October 2019

DISGUST AT HOSPITAL CLAMPING

I WAS LEFT DISTRESSED AND ANGRY BY RUDE CLAMPERS, SAYS VISUALLY IMPAIRED MAN

MARIA PEPPER

A VISUALLY impaired man who suffers from diabetes was left stranded in the car park of Wexford General Hospital after his daughter's car was clamped.

Michael Cogley (63) of Murrintown said his treatment at the hands of a clamping company left him angry and distressed. Mr Cogley, who has difficulty walking, hit out at the hospital's clamping policy and called it 'wrong'.

His daughter Joanne's car was clamped after she parked in a disabled space for 20 minutes at Wexford General Hospital last week.

Hospital management eventually intervened with the clamping company, Nationwide Controlled Parking Systems Ltd, to have the clamp removed. But Mr Cogley and his daughter said their distress was compounded by the 'rude' attitude of the attendant who turned up to release the car. A VISUALLY impaired diabetes sufferer was left stranded in a distressed state at Wexford General Hospital after his daughter's car was clamped.

Michael Cogley (63) of Murrintown hit out at the hospital's parking policy after his daughter's car was clamped near the outpatients department.

'It is just wrong. This is happening to people when they are at their most vulnerable,' said Michael who has difficulty walking due to diabetic ulcers on his feet.

Both Michael and his daughter Joanne, who drove him to the hospital for an appointment last Wednesday, said they found the experience extremely upsetting.

They accused Nationwide Controlled Parking Systems (NCPS), the private company responsible for parking at the hospital, of treating them with extreme rudeness.

Joanne Cogley, a social worker, said she was horrified by the company's attitude to her father's predicament.

Ms. Cogley brought her dad to the hospital last Wednesday afternoon and parked in a disabled space to avoid him having to walk a long distance.

'He is completely blind in one eye and has only 20% vision in the other eye. He has painful ulcers on his feet and finds it difficult to walk,' she said.

Mr. Cogley is awaiting registration with the National Council for the Blind of Ireland.

Joanne Cogley checked on her car a few times and was shocked to discover it had been clamped when she escorted her father out of the hospital about 20 minutes later.

There were no signs in the area warning of clamping, although one did appear last Monday morning, she said.

Joanne and her father returned to the hospital where a receptionist rang NCPS on their behalf.

'I spoke to a female representative who was very rude. I tried to explain about my father's illness but she didn't want to hear any of it.

'She said the car would be de-clamped when we paid €100.'

A diabetic nurse who was concerned about Mr. Cogley's condition contacted hospital management who eventually telephoned NCPS and authorised the removal of the clamp.

When they returned to the car park, an NCPS employee was sitting in his van.

'I said to him is there any chance of getting the clamp off today as we had another appointment. He told me not to be so impudent. I was taken aback by his attitude,' said Joanne.

In the meantime, two nurses came out to check on Mr. Cogley who risks having a hypoglycaemic attack if he does not eat regularly.

As the NCPS attendant was taking the clamp off, Ms. Cogley decided to take a photograph of the fence, showing no clamping signs.

'He then got back into his van and locked the door. He said he would take the clamp off when I deleted the photographs I had taken of him,' said Joanne.

'I told him I didn't take any photos of him, just the fence.

'He went to take my phone and grabbed my wrist. I grabbed the phone back off him and told him he had no right to do that'

'I showed him that I had no photos,' she said.

'One of the nurses asked him who was responsible for the decision to clamp the car – the hospital or NCPS – and he told her she should go back inside and do her job,' she added.

'I understand that people have a job to do but the attitude was so awful,' Joanne said.

'It made me feel so small. It was absolutely horrible.'

Michael, who has been attending Wexford General Hospital as a diabetic for 30 years, said he found the experience very distressing.

'I believe I am a disabled person. The medical team will confirm that I am visually impaired,' he said.

'I believe the nurses came out with me because they were afraid I would go into a diabetic coma. 'I am really furious about what happened. 'I wouldn't have paid that €100 because I don't believe I did anything wrong.'

Michael and his daughter thanked the staff of the hospital for their support and kindness during the incident.

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