Thursday 23 October 2014

Five lives saved by woman killed in flip-flop stairs fall

Tom Shiel

Published 18/06/2014 | 02:30

James Reilly launching Organ Donor Awareness Week earlier this year
James Reilly launching Organ Donor Awareness Week earlier this year

A YOUNG woman who died after tumbling down her stairs while wearing flip flops has given life to five other people.

Rosemarie Loughlin's organs were used in five transplants, including a heart donation to a 16-year-old boy.

Coroner John O'Dwyer told an inquest into the 28-year-old's death that five was the highest number of transplants he had ever heard of from one donor.

He complimented her husband Brian Loughlin for his courage an unselfishness in giving permission for the donations to take place.

Addressing the young widower, the coroner said: "You may have lost your wife in tragic circumstances but it must be some consolation for you to know that so many families have benefited from the donation of her organs."

Evidence was given to the inquest that Rosemarie and her husband, who both worked at pharmaceutical firm Allergan in Westport, had been planning a holiday in Portugal.

On the evening she fell down the stairs, she had been wearing black and blue flip flops.

She was found by her husband in a badly injured state at the foot of the stairs in the early hours of July 19 last year, after he had completed a night shift in Allergan.

In a statement to the inquest, Mr Loughlin said his wife was unconscious and bleeding when he found her .

He raised the alarm by ringing his wife's sister, Deborah, and by dialling 999.

Evidence

Mr Loughlin outlined the last text he had received from his wife at 4.32pm on July 18.

He had told her that he would go with her to Co Donegal, her birthplace, that weekend and she replied: "Excellent baby, brilliant news".

He said they had been planning their holiday to Portugal the following month.

The sister-in-law of the deceased, Louise Lavelle from Bohola, Co Mayo, gave evidence of finding flip flops at the bottom of the stairs on July 19.

"There was one flip flop at the bottom of the stairs on the tile floor towards the centre," she said in a statement to the Castlebar inquest.

She added: "The second flip flop was to the end of the stairs, also on the tiles.

"They appeared new. They were black with a small blue pattern design. I hadn't seen them before.

"She was happy about her husband, Brian, getting tax back from the Revenue and she said some of this money would go towards the holiday abroad they had planned," Ms Lavelle said.

The coroner returned a verdict of death in accordance with the medical evidence.

As well as the heart transplant, her kidneys were transplanted, one to a 15-year-old boy, the other to a 50-year-old married father with renal failure who had been waiting for five years for a suitable match.

Rosemarie's liver was transplanted after her death to a 68-year-old married man. Rosemarie's right lung was given to a 59-year-old married man and his transplant took place in the Mater Hospital, Dublin.

Irish Independent

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