Gas leak victim 'sought help' just hours before she died
Published 11/01/2011 | 05:00
A YOUNG woman who died from suspected carbon monoxide poisoning in a popular hotel sought medical attention a few hours before her body was discovered.
Gardai are now investigating reports that Miriam Reidy (35) had complained of feeling unwell and had sought medical attention at 5am last Sunday.
She was discovered dead in her bedroom in the Trident Hotel in Kinsale, Co Cork, just over seven hours later.
Her sister, Patricia, was found semi-conscious in the same room and is now winning her fight for life in Cork University Hospital.
Several other people in the hotel also received medical attention over the course of last Saturday night-Sunday morning after complaining of feeling ill, with symptoms including nausea, headaches and dizziness.
A couple -- resident in a bedroom near the Reidy sisters -- sought medical attention on Saturday night and were referred to Cork University Hospital (CUH).
They attended the emergency department and the woman was later admitted.
Miriam Reidy complained of feeling unwell at 5am but subsequently went back to bed.
Earlier, at 4.25am, Miriam had sent a text message to another cousin, Mairead Reidy, querying whether anyone else in their group had suddenly fallen ill.
Both Miriam and Patricia Reidy had been in Kinsale to celebrate the 'hen' weekend of their first cousin, Marie Reidy, a sister of Mairead, who is due to get married in February.
Patricia -- who lives in Dublin -- is believed to have tried to help her younger sister but was overcome by the gas before the alarm could be raised.
Both sisters were discovered on the floor of their bedroom when friends went to check on them at 1pm after becoming concerned at their failure to meet up as arranged on Sunday.
Members of the Reidy family including the sisters' parents, John and Josephine, from Ballyhahill in Co Limerick, were maintaining a vigil at Patricia's bedside in CUH yesterday. Her condition had stabilised yesterday. There is now increasing optimism about her recovery.
A full post-mortem examination was carried out at CUH yesterday on the body of Miriam Reidy who is a bank official based in Killarney, Co Kerry.
The Trident Hotel remained sealed off yesterday as engineering experts and Health and Safety Authority (HSA) officials examined the premises.
A total of 90 guests and staff had to be evacuated on Sunday and the hotel will now remain closed until the garda and HSA investigations are completed.
Safety and engineering inspectors were yesterday examining all gas cylinders, heating lines and ventilation systems at the hotel. Particular attention was being paid to ventilation and heating ducts running underneath and alongside the upstairs bedroom in which Miriam Reidy died.
The hotel's boiler house is located directly beneath and behind the accommodation block where the Reidy sisters were resident.
Trident Hotel manager, Hal McElroy, said that hotel staff remained deeply shocked by the tragedy and that everyone was co-operating fully with the garda and HSA inquiries.
In the Reidys' native west Limerick, locals have expressed horror at how the hen weekend should end in such tragedy.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with Patricia and that she will now pull through. Our deepest condolences are with John and Josie at what must be a terrible time for them all," Cllr John Sheehan said.
The parish priest of the Loughill-Ballyhahill in Limerick, Fr Gerard O'Leary, consoled members of the family yesterday. "For a social weekend to end up in such tragedy is unimaginable. Our prayers are for the soul of Miriam, a delightful young woman who was full of joy and happiness, as well, of course, for the recovery of her sister Patricia," he said.
"The Reidy family will have the full support of this very close-knit community in their time of need. I have spoken with members of the family and they are understandably devastated by this tragedy and have asked for privacy from the media at this very difficult time," Fr O'Leary said.