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Tuesday 23 September 2014

Key safety recommendations in McEneaney case not fully implemented

Eilish O'Regan Health Correspondent

Published 14/05/2014 | 02:30

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Patient advocate Jim Reilly speaks to the media following the settlement of two High Court actions by the McEneaney family.
Patient advocate Jim Reilly speaks to the media following the settlement of two High Court actions by the McEneaney family.
The late Sharon McEneaney
The late Sharon McEneaney

A NUMBER of key patient safety recommendations made by an expert group who investigated the care of Sharon McEneaney have yet to be fully implemented.

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The review found Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda "completely failed" the young woman who suffered a delayed cancer diagnosis.

The review team's unpublished report made 38 recommendations, some of which have national implications for patient safety.

A spokeswoman for the hospital said yesterday that all the recommendations of the review report have either been fully implemented or are "under way".

She said: "One of the recommendations relating to electronic patient records will need to be addressed nationally."

The report had found the lack of this form of record management meant that patient information was "fragmented and incomplete".

The review group said there were limited electronic patient medical records systems in electronic format.

The review group, chaired by Pat Gaughan, a senior management consultant, tracked Ms McEneaney's care from October 2007 to her eventual diagnosis in July 2008.

They found significant resources are likely to be required by the hospital to fully implement the safety changes needed "as will be the case for many other hospitals".

When she first went to the hospital's emergency department in late 2007, she was there from Wednesday until Friday evening. She was not seen by a consultant, which was "unacceptable".

The investigation found that no letter was ever issued to her GP on any of her interactions with the hospital.

Discharge summaries that were sent to the GP were inaccurate and written by junior doctors who did not know her.

The review group also criticised the manner in which she was told she had cancer over the phone.

The group said while it was not clear that Ms McEneaney's rare disease was curable at the time she first came to hospital, it was likely her surgery would have been less radical with a better quality of life if the diagnosis was made earlier.

The hospital spokeswoman said yesterday they have met with the family previously to discuss the many deficits in the care, outlined in the review report, which led to Sharon's delayed cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Jim Reilly, a patient advocate, said around six recommendations in all remain to be fully implemented.

Irish Independent

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