An American retiree has said she feels like she is “being held hostage” by the Irish healthcare system after sustaining a severe injury while traveling in the country nearly a month ago. reports that 66-year-old Robyn Coyle, a retired lawyer from California, has slammed the “severe lack of communication” between doctors and patients and claims that she still does not know for sure what her injury is or what her treatment will be, and feels that facilities are not at an acceptable standard.

Coyle arrived in Cork on a cruise ship more than three weeks ago with her husband Richard. The couple went on a day trip to Blarney, but upon returning to the ship, Coyle’s mobility scooter overturned when she tried to drive it up the gangplank. She fell from her side and shattered her hip. 

She was brought to Cork University Hospital, where doctors told her she would have to have surgery on her hip. However, they said they were not comfortable during the operation at the facility so Coyle was taken to Tallaght Hospital and scheduled for surgery there.

Some 22 later,and Coyle is still in the country. She says that doctors will not make a decision on whether or not to operate on her, or to put her on an air ambulance back to the U.S. — a move which would cost Coyle as much as $100,000.

“At first they told me that in order to do the surgery I had to have been here for ten weeks. That’s just to get the surgery, not including recovery time afterwards. I’m not sure why, they didn’t tell me,” she said.

“Then they said they would do the surgery and after seven to ten days recovery I could go home. But they kept flipping back and forth about it. Then they were going to do the surgery, and I was made to fast, but on the day the doctor said he reviewed my bloods and X-Rays and was not going to do the surgery after all. I don’t know why. I’ve never gotten a straight answer.”

Coyle has since been transferred back to CUH and told she will need to take an air ambulance back home. However, Coyle feels that her treatment plan in not set in stone and could change at any moment, and she has confidence in the healthcare system.

“I’ve been in hospital in the US and the communication there was better. Communication is 90% of why it’s so miserable for me here. There’s no communication here at all. We don’t know what’s going on and they won’t tell us,” she said.

“And this sounds a bit like I’m being a spoiled brat, but there’s not even a TV in here, in the ward. There’s a bracket for a TV, but no TV. They don’t have one here and they didn’t have one in Dublin. What more can you do all day other than lay here and look at your toes?”

She said that if she knew exactly what her diagnosis was, she would find the situation easier to deal with.

“We called the embassy and they said they couldn’t do anything. I feel like I’m being held hostage. I’ve never given my permission to stay here.”

The Coyle’s insurance will cover some of the costs, and with their own retirement savings, they will “just about” have enough to cover all medical costs.

“Our primary insurance provider is essentially saying the emergency is over. She’s not in a life-threatening position any more, so they’re not going to pay for everything. They pay when you’re out of the country for emergencies to get you into a stabilized condition,” said Richard.

“This was supposed to be my retirement cruise. I just retired in May and this was my celebration. Now we have to use all our savings to pay for medical costs. We might even have to refinance the house.”

Family members have set up a fundraising page to help them. For more information go to