Sunday 19 November 2017

Hospital apologises to partner over death of woman after discharge

Maura McCourt died at home. Picture: Ciara Wilkinson
Maura McCourt died at home. Picture: Ciara Wilkinson

Elaine Keogh

A hospital has apologised to the partner of a woman who died after being discharged without her condition being reviewed by a medical team.

Laurence Collins said Maura McCourt had been "the love of my life".

Ms McCourt (68) died at her home in Dundalk, Co Louth, on March 1, 2014,

An inquest into her death, at Drogheda Coroner's Court, heard she felt unwell and developed breathing problems on February 26, 2014. She was admitted to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogehda and she was told she had a bad chest infection.

Mr Collins was told by a nurse the next day that it was decided Ms McCourt should be discharged.

Mr Collins said Ms McCourt still felt weak and could barely walk.

A nurse told them the only option was to return to A&E with her, but he said she could not face that and he brought her home on February 28.

The next day, March 1, she began frothing at the mouth and he rang an ambulance. Despite paramedics' efforts, she died a short time later.

A post-mortem found her death was due to acute cardio-respiratory failure secondary to bronchial pneumonia.

The inquest heard Ms McCourt was under the shared care in hospital of a medical and surgical team.

Two nurses gave evidence that they had not carried out hourly observations on Ms McCourt in accordance with the Early Warning Score system.

Roger Murray, solicitor for Mr Collins, told Coroner Ronan Maguire that it was agreed between the parties that Ms McCourt had been discharged without a review by the medical team.

The discharge was completed by members of the surgical team but lawyer for the HSE, Simon Mills, said that it was clear that if the doctor in question had known there was no medical review, he would not have discharged her.

Risk manager at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Irene O'Hanlon, said: "We believe Maura should not have been discharged and we apologise sincerely."

A narrative verdict was recorded.

Irish Independent

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