Thursday 17 October 2019

Mother (48) 'in agony' died after being sent home with painkillers


Mayo University Hospital Photo: Google Maps
Mayo University Hospital Photo: Google Maps

Tom Shiel

A coroner has returned a verdict of misadventure in the death of a woman who attended hospital twice in the week before her death complaining of back pain but was sent home with painkillers.

Anne Marie O'Brien (48), a mother of four, from Windsor, Castlebar, Co Mayo, died at Mayo University Hospital (MUH) in October 2016 after being treated for severe back pain.

An inquest heard she attended MUH on two separate occasions in the week before she died complaining of back pain. She was not admitted on either occasion and was sent home with painkillers.

She had a history of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and other conditions including ischaemic disease.

Damian Tansey, solicitor for the O'Brien family, said the hospital knew the deceased had been "screaming with pain" but it decided to discharge her.

After being admitted to hospital by ambulance on October 2, 2016, Ms O'Brien suffered a fatal cardiac arrest.

Ms O'Brien's sister, Margaret Whelan, said she was "in agony" when admitted to the hospital on September 29.

Laura O'Brien told the inquest the way her mother was treated at the hospital was "appalling".

"The only way I can describe my mother is that she was in bits.

"The last few days that I had with my mother will stay with me for the rest of my life," she said.

Dr Omotunde Sanni, locum registrar in emergency medicine at MUH, told the inquest his feeling was that painkillers were the appropriate treatment for Ms O'Brien's back pain.

Counsel for the HSE, Sasha Louise Gayer, said the Saolta Hospital Group unreservedly apologised to the family.

Irish Independent

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