Tuesday 22 August 2017

Partner of man who died after being sent home from hospital three times challenges inquest result

The High Court, Dublin
The High Court, Dublin

Tim Healy

THE partner of a man who died from a brain hemorrhage after he was sent home from hospital three times after complaining of headaches is seeking a High Court order quashing the result of his inquest.

The action has been brought by Gwen Bradley against Philip Comyn, who in his capacity as coroner for Cork City, held an inquest on April 11/12 last into the death of Evan Morrissey.

Mr Morrissey died, aged 28 years, on March 22, 2014 at Cork University Hospital (CUH),  after being transferred there from South Tipperary General Hospital (STGH) some days earlier.

He had first presented at STGH on March 2, 2014, complaining of severe headaches, but was discharged the following morning.

He returned on two further occasions before being discharged shortly afterwards. He was re admitted on March 18 to STGH after becoming very ill before being moved to CUH, where he died.

The jury at the inquest returned a narrative verdict, which is a verdict in line with the medical evidence, that Mr Morrissey died from a hemorrhage from a re-bleed from a cerebral artery aneurysm.

Ms. Bradley and Mr. Morrissey of Rosegreen, Cashel, Co Tipperary, had five children together, the youngest born six months after his death.

She is unhappy over the manner in which the inquest was conducted, and claims he limited the scope of the inquiry into the circumstances surrounding Evan's death.

She says the inquest was not conducted in accordance with the law.

The coroner, she claims, prevented relevant evidence concerning the facts and omissions that led to Mr Morrissey's death being put before the jury.

Her barrister Patrick Tracey told the High Court said solicitor Cian O'Carroll represented Ms Bradley at the two day inquest.

Mr O'Carroll attempted to ask questions of the medical witnesses at the inquest, but was not allowed to do so by the coroner, counsel said. 

Counsel said the coroner repeatedly prevented Mr O'Carroll from asking questions that strayed beyond that particular person's interaction with Mr Morrissey when the deceased was under their care.

In particular, Mr O'Carroll sought to ask questions in relation to the procedures and protocols that were in place at STGH for dealing with patients with symptoms such as those exhibited by Mr Morrissey.

Counsel said because of the interventions by the coroner, Mr O'Carroll on instructions from Ms Bradley decided to withdraw from the inquest.

Permission to bring the action was granted, on an ex parte (one side only represented) basis, by Mr. Justice Seamus Noonan who said the matter could come back to court in October.

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