Monday 19 February 2018

HSE probe after woman chokes to death on food in Áras Attracta home

Áras Attracta in Co Mayo. Photo:
Áras Attracta in Co Mayo. Photo:

Greg Harkin

The HSE has launched an internal inquiry after a resident choked to death on her food at the Áras Attracta nursing home in Swinford, Co Mayo.

Una McGing, who was in her 50s, choked to death on a piece of food after going into a kitchen at Bungalow 3 late on Sunday evening.

It's understood some kitchen areas at the home were opened up to residents as part of a review of care at the home last year.

Sources described the death as a "tragic accident".

Staff members in the common kitchen area tried to assist the woman when she began choking on her food.

They used specialist suction equipment in a bid to remove the food from her throat.

Paramedics who were called to the home tried to rescucitate the woman but she was pronounced dead at the scene.

Gardaí have launched an investigation on behalf of the coroner.

The HSE said the family of Ms McGing, who had intellectual difficulties, had appealed for privacy.

The Health and Safety Authority and HIQA say they've launched their own separate investigations into the death.

"The resident's family would like to have their privacy respected at this very sad time," said a HSE spokesman.

The health authority said a Senior Safety Incident Management Team has been convened, chaired by Chief Officer Tony Canavan.

The spokesman said: "This team will include the relevant expertise from HR, Quality & Safety/Risk Management, Safeguarding practice and Communications.

"The team will carry out an immediate assessment and establish the facts, ensure appropriate support to service users and their families and address any immediate safety concerns.

"They will also establish a full investigation team to review the circumstances of this case."

At the nursing home yesterday, staff refused to talk about the death.

However local people expressed shock at the death of the resident."It's so sad," said one local mother who knows staff members and who was dropping children off at nearby Swinford GAA club.

"It's always very sad when someone passes away but even more tragic when a resident dies in such circumstances. I know staff are devastated, absolutely devastated."

Local county councillor Seamus Weir extended his sympathies to the family. "It's very upsetting for the family and for the community," he said. Sources said that the review into the case had already started. A number of senior HSE officials visited the home.

Irish Independent

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