Sunday 21 January 2018

Coroner tells tragic teen's friends to correct suicide lie on Facebook

Tom Shiel

A coroner has appealed to the friends of a teenage girl who died from a rare disease to correct a claim made on Facebook that she died by suicide.

Mayo Coroner John O'Dwyer urged the teenagers to "right the wrong" and "take the stigma" from her at the inquest into the death of Ann Jordan (14) from Ross, Killala, Co Mayo.

"This child died from acute inflammation of the colon," said Mr O'Dwyer.

He described Ann's death as "an absolute, awful tragedy".

Mr O'Dwyer said it was clear from the evidence that Ann hadn't informed her parents she was constipated.

He added: "It is difficult to understand why a child who clearly had to be suffering succeeded in concealing this from her parents."

The coroner said that Ann's concealment of her condition had come at enormous personal cost and pain to her.

The inquest heard that Ann, a pupil at St Patrick's College, Lacken Cross, had developed a fear of doctors claiming "they don't listen to me anyway and just say it's constipation".

Mary Molloy, an aunt of the dead girl, said it had been "shocking" to see how distended her niece's abdomen had become on the day she died in April 2012.

Ann's condition, Hirchsprung disease -- a condition that affects the large intestine -- occurs in one of 5,000 live births.

DIFFICULTIES

Mr O'Dwyer said Ann appeared to have difficulties with constipation from an early age.

The first time she was seen for the problem was after she was born in 1998.

In later years the condition seemed to have clinically resolved itself, the coroner said. Ann had not been seen in hospital since 2005.

Mr O'Dwyer said that Ann appeared to have developed an extreme fear of hospitals and doctors but there was nothing to suggest she had a bad experience.

Ann's collapse and subsequent death after being rushed from her home to Mayo General Hospital was the subject of a garda investigation but the DPP ruled there should be no prosecution in the matter.

The coroner quoted from the evidence of Detective Garda Leo Heaney that the dead girl's home was clean and well kept, with plenty of food and numerous pictures on the wall, including paintings which Ann herself had done.

Both parents were involved in Ann's hobby, which was growing fruit in the garden and making homemade jam.

Mr O'Dwyer returned a narrative verdict in the case.

Irish Independent

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