Thursday 19 April 2018

'We felt that someone, somewhere got a life because of him' - Family donate organs of plumber who died following fall from roof

Fell as he was crossing from a roof ladder to a steel extension ladder, Dublin Coroner’s Court heard

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

Louise Roseingrave

A self-employed plumber who fell from the roof of a two-storey house died from his injuries, an inquest heard.

Joseph Kelly from Mulhuddart, Dublin 15 went up onto the roof of a house in Drumcondra to investigate damp issues inside. He fell as he was crossing from a roof ladder to a steel extension ladder, Dublin Coroner’s Court heard. His family took the decision to donate his organs.

“We felt that someone, somewhere got a life because of him,” his son Graham Kelly said.

Mr Kelly had dropped his son to work on August 2 2016 before going to a job on St Columba’s Road. He went onto the roof to investigate damp patches inside the house, according to his colleague Val Rock. Mr Rock was not present at the inquest but his evidence was read out in court.

He said there was no roof ladder on site so Mr Kelly went to buy materials and built his own.

He worked to repair the roof all morning and then came down for lunch. He finished his lunch before Mr Rock and went back up to the roof alone.

“I heard a rumble and a cry for help and I found him lying on the ground with the broken roof ladder beside him. I don’t know how it happened I was still inside,” Mr Rock said in his statement.

The man’s son received a call and rushed to the house. He said his father was awake and talking but in a lot of pain.

“He said he felt stupid about what happened. His knees were shattered and he’d a mark on his head,” Graham Kelly said.

Mr Kelly was rushed to the Mater Hospital where a CT scan showed no injury to the brain at this point. An x-ray revealed the man had a broken femur. Planned surgery on his leg was halted because he became unwell on the operating table.

The man later suffered a stroke and died three days later on Aug 5 2016.

The inquest heard that in cases where long bones such as a the femur are broken there is a risk of fat embolism syndrome, meaning the body’s fats can move into the blood stream to the kidneys, lungs or brain.

The pathologist noted the blockage that caused the stroke was relatively recent as it had not been there on arrival at hospital. The cause of death was cerebral infarction due to thrombosis secondary to a fall on August 2. Coroner Dr Myra Cullinane returned a verdict of accidental death.

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