Saturday 22 October 2016

Inquest hears that man drowned in three inches of water

Gareth Naughton

Published 24/06/2015 | 13:44

A MAN found dead in the bath having drowned in three inches of water had probably had a seizure, an inquest has heard.

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Shane McManus (28) was discovered face down in shallow water at his flat in Dolphin House, Rialto, Dublin 8 on St Patrick’s Day last year.

Dublin Coroner’s Court heard Mr McManus had epilepsy from birth which had never been fully controlled. 

He was found by his nephew Stephen McManus who went to check on him on Monday evening after the dead man’s mother raised concerns he had not been heard from over the weekend. He told the court that when he went into the flat, the light in the bathroom was on so he checked there first and saw his uncle in the bath, not moving.

“The bath had red water in it, about three inches deep. Shane was on his knees with his two arms facing back by his hips…  I was shocked and panicking. I shouted out his name but his face, nose and mouth were submerged in the water,” he said.

He tried to lift his uncle’s head from the water and blood was coming from his nose. There was no pulse and the body was cold.

When paramedics arrived, rigor mortis was present indicating Mr McManus had been dead for some time. Garda Paul Geraghty said the last activity on his phone was a call to his mother on Friday evening.

Following post-mortem, the pathologist gave the cause of death as drowning.

Coroner Dr Brian Farrell said this was probably the result of Mr McManus having an epileptic seizure while in the bath. The court heard evidence his doctor had advised him that if he was having a bath he should only have two to three inches of water in the tub and bathe while on his knees in case he had a seizure. This was consistent with the position he was found in.

His mother Winifred McManus said he had moved out of her home 18 months previously because he wanted to “live his own life”. While living with her he would have three to four seizures a week, she said. The family said there was evidence in the apartment the seizures had continued.

Some anti-seizure medication was found in the flat. A report from Mr McManus’s GP said he did not pick up his repeat prescription for anti-seizure medication in February. Dr Farrell said Mr McManus may not have been taking his epilepsy medication regularly. 

He returned a verdict of death by misadventure.

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