Tuesday 25 October 2016

'Why wasn't his case followed up on the night?' - Father of man was found dead three days after 999 call for ambulance

Louise Roseingrave

Published 14/10/2016 | 07:13

Carl Hogarty (inset)
Carl Hogarty (inset)

A man was found dead in his apartment three days after he called for an ambulance, an inquest heard.

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Carl Hogarty (40) of Drumcondra Road Lower, Dublin 9, was pronounced dead on August 13, last year.

Three days previously, Dublin Fire Brigade responded to a call within minutes of being contacted but could not gain access to the flat complex despite ringing all 16 doorbells.

Speaking after the inquest, the man's father Carl Hogarty Snr said he could not understand how his son's call was not followed up.

"I'm at a loss as to why his case was not followed up on the night," Mr Hogarty said.

Dublin Coroner's Court heard that Mr Hogarty called for an ambulance at 9.44pm on August 10, 2015, complaining of breathing difficulties. He told the control room, "I feel I am going to die."

A Dublin Fire Brigade ambulance arrived at the address at 9.52pm. The paramedics did not know the flat number so they rang all 16 doorbells but got no reply.

A minute later the paramedics reported to control staff that they could not gain access. Three minutes later they were told control staff had made contact with Mr Hogarty and he was coming downstairs. At 10.03pm, the paramedics reported there was no sign of the patient.

In the meantime, a passer-by with a serious head injury approached seeking assistance.

Control room staff made two further attempts to contact Mr Hogarty by phone, at 10.05pm and 10.06pm, both calls went unanswered.

A minute later, the paramedics contacted control staff to confirm they were taking the passer-by to hospital.

Paramedic Tom Clare said paramedics were in an 'impossible situation.'

"We had the option to break down the door and then break down another 16 doors," Mr Clare said. He said his concern for the caller was lessened as the man had answered his phone and told control staff he would come downstairs.

"In this situation you have to make a judgement call. You can't just go into someone's house and break the door down," Mr Clare said.

The court heard that Dublin Fire Brigade experience a 999 call every 90 seconds during the day and a high percentage of calls are malicious.

Two days later, Carl Hogarty's mother tried to call him three times and became concerned when she got no reply. She contacted the man's father who called to the address the following day.

Mr Hogarty was found dead on the floor inside the door of his flat. There was a syringe nearby. He was pronounced dead at 12.15pm on August 13.

Cause of death was multi-drug overdose. A toxicology report found evidence of heroin use.

Returning a verdict of misadventure, Coroner Dr Myra Cullinane said she would write to the emergency services asking if 999 callers reporting 'serious complaints' can be asked if there is anyone with them or close by that can assist them.


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