Sunday 19 January 2020

'How did this happen?' - Probe after woman's body lay undiscovered in hospital bathroom 'for up to 10 hours'

University Hospital Galway
University Hospital Galway
Kathy Armstrong

Kathy Armstrong

An investigation has been launched into how the body of a dead woman lay undiscovered in a hospital toilet for "up to 10" hours.

The body of the woman - who is understood to be a Polish national - was found in a disabled toilet beside the Emergency Department of University Hospital Galway over the August Bank Holiday weekend.

Cllr Niall McNelis has questioned how the woman was not found sooner.

The Labour Councillor told "I've requested an update from the hospital manager to find out exactly what happened.

"It's a public toilet very close to the A&E department so surely there must have been checks from staff to keep the toilets clean and also from security.

"How did this happen over such a long period of time?"

Mr McNelis, who is also a member of the HSE West Regional Health Forum, added: "My other main concern is that if it's up to ten hours, what are the procedures for strangers and for other visitors to the hospital?"

The Connacht Tribune reports that the woman lay dead in the toilet for up to ten hours before she was found.

It's understood that the toilet was locked from the inside and she was found when the facilities were being cleaned.

A spokeswoman for the Saolta University Hospital Group, who represents the University Hospital Galway, confirmed that an investigation has been launched into the incident.

She said: "The circumstances relating to the discovery of a deceased person in a disabled toilet which was locked in a public area adjacent to the Emergency Department at UHG are being investigated.

"The person entered the hospital building unknown to any member of staff.

"The deceased was a member of the public and was not registered as a patient either in the hospital or the ED."

The case has been referred to the Coroner and a public inquest may follow.

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