Sunday 22 September 2019

Mother (59) died after nightdress became entangled on bed post, inquest hears

The Dublin Coroner's Court
The Dublin Coroner's Court

Louise Roseingrave

A 59-year-old woman died of asphyxia after her nightdress became entangled on a bed post in her bedroom.

The mother-of-two had recently bought a new bed with decorative glass bedposts, an inquest into her death heard.

Deirdre Fox (59) from Sandyford, Dublin 18 died at her home on April 13 2017. She had type two diabetes and was injecting insulin daily, Dublin Coroner’s Court heard. She spoke with her ex-husband the night before her death and was ‘in good form.’

Family members raised concerns the next day after failing to contact the woman on her mobile phone. Mr Doyle went to the house and found her in her bedroom shortly after 1pm.

“She had bought a new bed and it had four glass knobs on the end of it. She was in her nightdress which had become entangled on one of the glass knobs,” Ronald Doyle told the court.

The inquest heard that the nightdress had got caught around the woman’s neck and restricted her ability to breathe.

Gardai were called and examined the scene but found nothing of a suspicious nature.

“It’s believed she would smoke a cigarette at the window in her bedroom and she got caught on the bed around her right shoulder area as she coming back from the window,” Garda Trevor D’Arcy told the court.

A post-mortem examination conducted by pathologist Dr Susan Aherne revealed a mark on the right side of the woman’s neck. The cause of death was positional asphyxia in the context of elevated alcohol levels.

“She’d had a number of drinks. She would have been unsteady on her feet,” Coroner Dr Myra Cullinane told the family.

“It is just the most unusual and unfortunate thing that happened to her. She was intoxicated to the point that she was not able to manage to get herself out of that position,” the coroner said.

“Unfortunately she got hooked in this position and the position she was in, she was finding it difficult to breathe. When her oxygen levels dropped she passed away. That’s why the pathologist calls it positional asphyxia,” the coroner said.

Returning a verdict of misadventure, Dr Cullinane extended her sympathies to the family. “It must have been a terrible shock to find her and for you to lose her so suddenly in this way.”

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