Tuesday 22 August 2017

Epidural left elderly woman paralysed, inquest told

Georgina O'Halloran

A WOMAN was left paralysed after she was given an epidural for pain relief, the inquest into her death heard yesterday.

Veronica Hannon (79) was admitted to the Mater Hospital, Dublin, on September 29, 2010.

She had a stone in her left kidney and had vital surgery to remove the kidney on October 26, 2010, Dublin Coroner's Court heard.

An epidural, which was given for pain relief following the operation, resulted in reduced lower limb movement and was discontinued on October 29.

A week later, on November 5, an examination demonstrated severe motor lower-limb paralysis and an urgent MRI identified damage to the spinal cord and a bleed.

Surgery

She had spinal surgery to remove the bleed and to relieve pressure from the spinal cord.

At that stage a diagnosis of spinal cord stroke, which was likely related to epidural and low blood pressure, was made.

Ms Hannon's lower limbs remained paralysed and her condition deteriorated. She was transferred to St Francis's Hospice on March 28, 2011, where she died on April 24, 2011.

"There is no doubt the epidural is a significant factor in the subsequent paralysis," said coroner Dr Brian Farrell.

He recorded a narrative verdict, a summary of the facts of the case.

Ms Hannon, of Drumalee Drive, North Circular Road, Dublin 7, had a complicated medical history, which included heart disease, emphysema, and progressive dementia.

Speaking from the body of the court, her tearful daughter, Catherine Costello, told the coroner that in a way she wished the inquest had not happened.

"It just brings it back to us as a family," she added.

Irish Independent

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