Thursday 23 November 2017

Mum (64) found dead three days after fall at home

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

Louise Roseingrave

A 64-YEAR-OLD woman who fell on to a wooden floor, fracturing her hip and breaking her leg, was found dead in her home, an inquest heard.

Mary Fitzgerald, of Windmill Park, Crumlin, was dead for between two and three days before she was found, Dublin Coroner’s Court heard.

Her son, Sean Fitzgerald, called at the house to take her to the shops as he did every week but became concerned when she did not answer the door.

He looked in the window and saw his mother lying on the floor.

After gaining entry, he discovered a pile of mail on the floor and his mother lying unresponsive beside the couch.

A post-mortem report found she had suffered a bad break of her left leg.

Ms Fitzgerald had fallen awkwardly, coroner Dr Myra Cullinane said, resulting in the dislocation of her hip.

She was bleeding heavily internally and lost 500ml of blood into the soft tissue surrounding the injury.

She was unable to move from the position she fell in and died some time later.

Ms Fitzgerald had been drinking earlier and had a blood alcohol level of 133mg.

The inquest was told that she had developed hypothermia, but the coroner noted that neither this nor the alcohol were directly responsible for her death.

She was pronounced dead at the scene on December 10, 2015. A pathologist gave the cause of death as internal blood loss from a fracture and dislocation of the left hip following a fall.

The coroner recorded a verdict of accidental death because she said the fall was an accident that could have happened with or without the consumption of alcohol.

“Unfortunately, she broke her hip and couldn’t get out of that position. She seems not to have died instantly as we know the alcohol was leaving her system,” Dr Cullinane told the hearing. Ms Fitzgerald is likely to have been unconscious as her blood pressure was falling due to internal bleeding and that resulted in cardiac and respiratory arrest.

“It was a combination of factors. She suffered a fall and a bad break, it was bleeding and she is likely to have been unconscious at this stage,” the coroner said.


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