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Paramedics misled by friends over fatal car fall, inquest told

A YOUNG man died from serious head injuries sustained in a freak accident when he fell out of a moving car on his way home from a night out socialising with friends.

But Cork Coroner's Court yesterday heard how paramedics who arrived to treat Trevor Larkin (21) were initially told by his friends that he had fallen off a wall -- with no mention of his having fallen from a moving vehicle onto the roadside.

Medical personnel were apparently misled as to the precise circumstances in which the 21-year old was injured because his friends were worried that, having been out socialising, if gardai were called the issue of possible drink driving could have arisen.

Coroner Dr Myra Cullinane was told by key medical personnel that, had they known the facts, their treatment programme for the young man would have been substantially different.

The inquest was told that, instead of being treated for what was suspected to be a minor head injury, the 21-year old would have been assessed for a possibly serious head trauma. Mr Larkin (21) of Slumerhill, Killavullen, Co Cork had been out socialising on May 16 2008. He visited two pubs in the North Cork village together with his friends Jennifer Lenihan, Ellen O'Driscoll, Suzanne McGann and George Stapleton. Mr Larkin had been dating Ms McGann.

Ms McGann was driving the group home when she was told by Trevor Larkin to return to the shop because he wanted to buy something. She told him the shop was closed but, as she was driving at around 25 miles per hour, Mr Larkin suddenly exited the vehicle.

Ms Lenihan said she saw Trevor Larkin fall from the car -- and Ms O'Driscoll told gardai that the young man had opened the rear door himself and then fallen out. Mr Larkin was brought to Ms McGann's house and initially seemed to be shaken but alright. He was able to move around.

He was placed on a sofa but, a short time later, the young man vomited and began to bleed heavily from the nose. The friends decided to call an ambulance shortly after 2.15am -- but, before it arrived, agreed to tell paramedics that their friend had gotten injured after falling off a wall and banging his head on the ground.

Transferred

He was transferred by ambulance to Mallow General Hospital (MGH) where the treating physician was told it was a minor injury. But when Mr Larkin's condition began to deteriorate he was rushed to Cork University Hospital (CUH).

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Surgeons ordered a full head and spinal scan and it revealed that the young man had sustained severe brain injuries.

The young man died on May 24 -- just over a week after he sustained his injury.

A post mortem examination revealed that he had sustained a fractured skull in his fall onto the roadside from the car.

The inquest was told that a detailed file on the matter was submitted to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) but Gardai were informed that no further action will be taken.

Dr Cullinane recorded an open verdict in the matter.


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