In common with all Irish people, at home and abroad, members of the Irish Association for Emergency Medicine were deeply saddened by the loss of life and the injuries suffered in the explosion in Creeslough, Co. Donegal last Friday (7th October). We offer our sincere sympathies to the families of the 10 people who lost their lives and wish a speedy recovery to those injured in the blast and subsequent building collapse. As experts in emergency care we are all too familiar with situations where victims just happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time which was very much the case in Creeslough.
We were heartened to see the emergency response from local people, the statutory and voluntary emergency services, GPs, local machine operators and medical volunteers whose actions have saved additional victims from death or even more serious injury as a result of otherwise having to endure more prolonged entrapment. The response from our colleagues in Northern Ireland (Fire & Rescue, Ambulance & Specialist Urban Rescue Services) deserves particular mention and their interagency working with their counterparts in the Donegal Co. Fire & Rescue Service, National Ambulance Service, Donegal Civil Defence etc was first class.
Recently retired Consultant in Emergency Medicine at Letterkenny University Hospital, Dr Gerry Lane, acted as Medical Incident Officer and was supported by a number of Emergency Medicine trainees who came to the scene from Northern Ireland and others from a wedding they were attending in south Donegal as well as local GPs. The Emergency Department (ED) in LUH under the direction of Consultant in Emergency Medicine, Dr Suma Rajan, her team of doctors, nurses and ancillary staff received the casualties from the scene and some of Letterkenny’s ‘normal’ emergency workload was redirected to Derry & Sligo in accordance with the hospital’s Major Incident Plan. We acknowledge the efforts of local and Saolta hospital group management and the work of the various inpatient teams on the Letterkenny campus.
We sincerely thank all of those who helped in any way and salute their bravery and professionalism.
The incident shows, yet again, the importance of having EDs clear and available to do what they are best at, rather than being used so inappropriately as warehouses for admitted inpatients where such patients’ emergency care in the ED has been completed and they wait for prolonged periods of time for an inpatient bed.