Tuesday 24 April 2018

Probe after body of woman lay in hospital toilet for 10 hours

Stock photo
Stock photo

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.

The woman was not registered as a patient, either in the hospital or in the emergency department.

Local Labour councillor Niall McNelis has questioned how the woman was not found sooner.

"I've requested an update from the hospital manager to find out exactly what happened," the Galway West councillor said.

"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?" he asked.

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 10 hours, what are the procedures for strangers and for other visitors to the hospital?"

Locked

The 'Connacht Tribune' reported that the woman lay dead in the toilet for up to 10 hours before she was found.

It is understood that the toilet had been locked from the inside.

Her body was discovered when the facilities were being cleaned.

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

"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 spokesperson said.

The spokesperson added that the woman was not an outpatient.

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

"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 Galway West coroner, Dr Ciarán MacLoughlin, by the hospital.

A public inquest may follow.

Irish Independent

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