On call for Christmas

Dr Carey

Posted on: 11th December, 2017

Category: Features

Contributor: West Cork People

People don’t stop getting sick or having medical emergencies just because it’s Christmas so of course doctors don’t stop working. Dr Brian Carey, Consultant Geriatrician at Bantry General Hospital is one such physician who will be spending much of the festive season in a hospital.


“I personally find Christmas Eve and Christmas Day to be the most difficult days to work,” says Dr Carey. “The hospital is staffed the same as it always is but the patients don’t want to be there.

“There is a huge effort to try and get people home before Christmas but one of the difficulties we have is that people often delay coming in, so you get a lot of people coming in after Christmas and they’re often really sick by then.”

All going well, Dr Carey, who has four children, will be at home for the opening of Santa’s presents, before going in for his rounds. He’ll work until midday in the hospital and be on call for the rest of the day. “On Christmas Day, the hospital is staffed by two junior doctors but inevitably you are called in,” he says.

Dr Carey has been at Bantry General Hospital for 15 years and says the working atmosphere there is second-to-none. “I’ve always preferred working in smaller hospitals and even though it’s getting busier and busier (this hospital is doing double the work it did in 2009), everyone here is so pleasant and friendly.”

At Christmas time, the wards at Bantry General Hospital are decorated, staff are bedecked in Christmas ties and light-up parapharnalia and it’s a very festive affair. There is a Christmas party for residents in St Joseph’s long-stay ward, which staff attend, and of course the traditional turkey and ham is served up to patients and staff on Christmas Day.

The Acute Stroke Unit at Bantry General Hospital, which was the first of its kind in Cork and Kerry, is a source of great pride to Dr Carey, who says “we see approximately 100 patients with acute stroke here every year and it’s made a really huge difference to the lives of the people who have had the misfortune to suffer such an event. The multidisciplinary team does a fantastic job.”

The Acute Stroke and Rehabilitation Unit is however, also a cause of concern for Dr Carey and his team, who believe that the building is “not fit for purpose”.

‘We really need a new build,” explains Dr Carey, who last week highlighted the issue in discussions with Jim Daly, Minister of State at the Department of Health with responsibility for Mental Health and Older People. “While we’re very fortunate that the Acute Stroke Unit and Rehabilitation Unit are side by side, we don’t have single rooms available for infection control purposes or to allow privacy for some patients. There are a lot of other infrastructural problems that I think the patients and staff do extraordinarily well with, under the circumstances.”

Dr Carey is also in charge of the ‘Funny Turns and Falls’ Clinic and part of the Age Care Evaluation team at Bantry General Hospital.

“We see a range of patients at the ‘Funny Turns and Falls’ Clinic, from people who have funny turns that are difficult to diagnose to older people who are particularly frail and at risk of falls. Some are straighforward but usually the people who are the most difficult to diagnose are those who come to that clinic with unexplained blackouts, fainting spells, seizures, that kind of thing,” explains Dr Carey.

Dr Carey’s role also includes visiting the community hospitals around West Cork. “I don’t get to do that as often as I’d like to,” he says. “as unfortunately we have been unable to successfully recruit a second geriatrician to Bantry General Hospital.”

Dr Carey was inspired to go into geriatric medicine by one of his mentors, Dr. Michael Hyland, the first geriatrician in Cork. “He made it seem so simple when in fact it’s very complex,” says Dr Carey. “I admired how he he could make a simple change with a single tablet and improve someones quality of life so much.”

Dr Carey is a compassionate doctor. “It doesn’t matter what’s happening with me, often what the patient and their family is going through is the most difficult thing that they’ve ever gone through. So whatever that is, a bad stroke or whatever, you have to be mindful that this is probably the worst point in that person or their family’s life. It’s just a matter of basic humanity but the way you treat people is terribly important.”

In his experience the amount of information that people want from their doctor varies a lot. “The way I feel is that if someone asks a straight question, they deserve a straight answer,” says Dr Carey. “I always answer to the best of my ability using layman’s terms. I usually like to finish a consultation by leaving the door open to questions. People who are better informed participate better in their treatments.”

For Christmas, Dr Carey leaves us with a few wise words of advice. “In the words of the late Maurice Nelligan, the esteemed heart surgeon, ‘Everything in moderation, including moderation’.”

“I think that’s great advice,” he says laughing “and also if you need us, we’re here.”

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Visiting restrictions in place at Bantry General Hospital due to Flu Presentations

Strict visitor restrictions have been put in place with immediate effect at Bantry General Hospital due to the number of patients who have presented with flu like symptoms.

In the interest of patient care and in order to restrict the spread of the flu virus within the hospital, it is necessary with immediate effect to ban all visitors to Bantry General Hospital, with the exception of following: critically ill patients are restricted to one visitor per critically ill patient and confined to visiting times only, and attendance at the Medical Assessment Unit (MAU) and Local Injury Unit (LIU) should only take place if absolutely necessary, only one relative per patient attending these areas.

The elderly, children, pregnant women or young adults, those with chronic illnesses or vulnerable others are advised not to visit. Outpatient, Day care services and routine hospital admissions are not affected.

All infection control measures are in place and every effort is being made to manage and contain the spread of the flu virus.

People with flu like symptoms are advised to contact their GP by phone in the first instance and avoid presenting at the Emergency Department at Bantry General Hospital.

Bantry hospital staff are asking people to think about all their care and treatment options and keep ED services for the patients who need them most. Others with a less serious illness can be treated by their GP or out of hours GP service where their GP can refer them to an Assessment Unit the following day if required.
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8th January, 2018  ·  

West Cork People - The Best Free Read in West Cork shared Cope Foundation's Happy Christmas from Cope Foundation. ... See MoreSee Less

What makes Christmas special? Children and adults we support, our incredible staff, families and supporters - these are the people who make our organisation so special every single day, but especially at Christmas! Meet some of them here... Thank you to the wonderful team at AV3 Media who kindly produced this video for us as a Christmas gift! To make a Christmas donation today, go to www.cope-foundation.ie/donate. We believe that together we can do great things and with your support we can do so much more! Please SHARE our video so that more people can learn about the amazing things that happen at Cope Foundation! Evening Echo; Irish Examiner; The Southern Star; The Avondhu; Cork Independent; West Cork Times; West Cork People - The Best Free Read in West Cork; Bandon Opinion/The Opinion; Vale Star; East Cork Journal; Cork Chamber - Faces of Cork Business; Cork City FC; Cork Institute of Technology - CIT; University College Cork; Corks RedFM 104-106; The KC Show Corks 96 FM; Cork's 96FM; Cork's Best; C103 Cork; Cork Airport; Cork Opera House: The Everyman; Cork County Council; County Cork; Cork City Council; CorkLike; CCCahoots; Cork On Ice; Glow Cork; CIT Cork School of Music; RTÉ Today; Ciaran Bermingham - Actor; Rob & Marian Heffernan; John Spillane; Ger Wolfe; Eimear O'Brien PR; Jack O Rourke; Theo Dorgan; Mahon Point Shopping Centre; Blackpool Shopping Centre & Retail Park

18th December, 2017  ·  

This is the real spirit of Christmas at Caseys of Clonakilty. ... See MoreSee Less

Are you alone or do you know someone who will be alone this Christmas? If so, then we here at Casey’s would like to make your day that little bit easier. We are offering a full Christmas dinner on us! Christmas dinners can be collected Christmas Eve from 12:30pm - 8:30pm. Wishing everyone a very happy Christmas from everyone at Casey’s

15th December, 2017  ·  

RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta’s has just announced its Christmas schedule and it features several programmes of interest to listeners in West Cork.

On New Year’s Day at 12.08 pm we’ll hear highlights from the Éigse Dhiarmuidín Festival that took place in West Cork in early December, remembering musician and broadcaster Diarmuid Ó Súilleabháin. An Nollaig ar Oileán Chléire is an archive show presented by Mícheál Ó Sé on Wednesday 27 December at 5.30 pm about Christmas on Cape Clear and on Friday 29 December and 5 January at 7 pm, Peadar Ó Riada will bring us very special editions of his Cuireadh chun Ceoil programme from Múscraí. Keep an ear out!
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15th December, 2017  ·  

West Cork People - The Best Free Read in West Cork shared Garda Síochána - Cork, Kerry & Limerick - Southern Region's photo. ... See MoreSee Less

REMINDER: An Garda Siochana are hosting a Retail Crime Prevention Meeting, to be held at 7pm on Wednesday 29th November 2017. This meeting will be held in the Munster Arms Hotel in Bandon. This meeting is one of a series being held across the West Cork Garda Division, in association with Operation Thor, the Garda National Anti-Crime Strategy. The purpose of the meeting is to increase the cooperation between Gardai and the retail sector, ensuring that the current low levels of crime in the locality extends past the busy approaching Christmas season. The meeting will be addressed by the local Crime Prevention Officer, Sergeant Ian O’ Callaghan, who will discuss burglary prevention, shoplifting, fraud, and cybercrime. There will be a particular focus on cash handling and cash exposure of businesses in the run up to the Christmas shopping period. All aspects of commercial crime will be discussed, and we would strongly urge all businesses to make a special effort to attend on the evening.

28th November, 2017  ·  

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