Tragic cancer patient left waiting 'for hours' at A&E
Published 26/08/2011 | 05:00
A CANCER patient died just days after being diagnosed -- following repeated attempts to be seen at a hospital A&E.
Brendan Somers (47) was left waiting "for hours" in the emergency department of St James's Hospital in Dublin, despite being in agony, an inquest heard.
He presented to the hospital with severe abdominal pain on several occasions in the months prior to his death, but left each time without being seen by medical staff.
On April 28, Mr Somers presented to the hospital's hepatology department for a routine appointment and cancer of the pancreas was discovered.
Mr Somers, from Dunboyne in Co Meath, died from decompensated liver failure with cancer of the pancreas at St James's Hospital on May 5 this year.
Speaking after the inquest, Mr Somers' sister Lily Foley said she found out on a Tuesday that her brother had cancer and only a few days to live.
"He died on Thursday morning. If they'd identified the cancer sooner, we'd have all been able to see him before he died. He might have still died but everyone could have said bye."
She had earlier told the inquest how Mr Somers had gone to A&E on several occasions during the previous months with abdominal pain.
"He said he was hours and hours waiting in pain in A&E each time and that's why he discharged himself without being seen," Ms Foley said.
He subsequently wrote a letter to the hospital's CEO complaining about the hospital's triage system. He said people were arriving after him and being seen before him, even though he was in severe pain.
Counsel for St James's Hospital said that Mr Somers' vitals were checked each time he presented at A&E but that in a triage system, members of the public with the worst injuries or illnesses were seen first.
Dublin City Coroner Dr Brian Farrell returned a narrative verdict.