Tuesday 30 May 2017

Tragic drug user taken to hospital on garda car boot

Georgina O'Halloran

A TEENAGER who collapsed after snorting a substance he believed was cocaine was taken to a nearby hospital on the boot of a garda car.

Darragh Walsh-Ring (19) had a fit and lost consciousness in the early hours of September 17, 2010, after snorting numerous lines of lignocaine -- a heart drug and widely used local anaesthetic -- at a friend's home, an inquest was told yesterday.

Mr Walsh-Ring and his friends bought the drug on the street earlier, believing it was cocaine.

Dublin City Coroner's Court was told gardai received a call at 2am and upon arrival at the house in Ballinasloe, Co Galway, they found a man lying unconscious.

Mr Walsh-Ring, of Dunlo Harbour, Harbour Road, Ballinasloe, was inside the house and he was blue in colour and unresponsive.

As Sergeant Tom Horkan performed first-aid on Mr Walsh-Ring an ambulance was called.

After four cycles of CPR and no response, help was sought from the nearby Portiuncula Hospital and a senior nurse arrived with a defibrillator.

It was while waiting for the ambulance that it was decided to take the Mr Walsh-Ring to the local hospital by patrol car.

"I attached the defibrillator. There was no shock advised. There was no sign of an ambulance so we decided to move him immediately," said clinical nurse manager Dave Carroll.

Mr Carroll said there was one ambulance on standby from the Ballinasloe Hospital, but it was engaged. The other ambulance, which was coming from Loughrea, was 20 minutes away when the decision was made.

Sgt Horkan said they got the patient to hospital in the "quickest manner possible".

CPR needs to be performed on a hard surface so was continued with the teenager placed across the boot of the car on the way to the hospital.

The teenager was later transferred to St Vincent's Hospital, Dublin, on September 19 where he died of brain damage and multi-organ failure due to lignocaine toxicity on September 21.

Sgt Horkan said gardai have not established where the lignocaine came from, but it was not stolen in the Ballinasloe area.

Warning

"We've a situation where lignocaine is being supplied as cocaine. It's an extraordinarily serious situation. This is a very serious development," coroner Dr Brian Farrell said.

"We've been concerned in Dublin that cocaine is being cut with lignocaine, but this is pure lignocaine," he said.

The jury recorded a verdict of death by misadventure. The garda file remains open.

Speaking after the inquest outside the court, Noreen Walsh said her son's death was a warning to young people.

"They should be aware that they think they are taking cocaine and it's not," she said.

Irish Independent

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