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Monday 19 February 2018

'There was no way my wife was coming out alive'

Louise Hogan

HER family knew she was never going to leave the intensive care unit alive.

Noel Donohoe, husband of Colette Donohoe, told the hushed hearing that a glance at his wife through the open door of her isolation room on Tuesday morning, August 22, 2006, was all the information he had needed.

He might not have a medical background but his years' working as a hospital porter meant he knew this was serious.

The family -- her husband Noel, daughter Jennifer, son Paul and her brother Noel Moran -- had rushed to St James's Hospital in Dublin on the Tuesday morning, after receiving the dreaded phone call that chatty, bubbly Colette had taken a 'turn'.

"There was no way my wife was going to come out of there alive," Noel, who carries a photograph of his beloved wife with him, surmised after he saw her that morning.

He was asked to sign a form consenting to surgery. Noel described locum consultant surgeon at St James's Hospital, Javaid Ahmad Butt, as telling them it was a routine operation and his wife would be out and about doing light housework in weeks.

Her brother, Noel Moran, recalled they were "extremely reassured" after speaking with Mr Butt, who said the CT scan had showed the hernia was obstructing the bowel and surgery was necessary but a standard procedure.

He mulled over their sense of relief after they found there were no signs of cancer, as his own father had succumbed to bowel cancer.

"Perhaps in my naivety I thought this man knows what he is doing and Colette will hopefully be okay," her brother said. "It's unbelievable four years on. I still can't fathom it."

Colette Donohoe was pronounced dead before the operation took place.

On the eve of her death, the Monday, Noel recalled telling nurses his wife was "in serious trouble" and requesting a doctor to visit her. On the same day, Mr Moran had gone in to visit her and immediately rang her daughter Jennifer in a worried state. "I was absolutely shocked by what I saw," he said, adding it was "blatantly obvious she was a sick woman".

He added: "She said to me 'I really am very sick', she said 'I think I might be bunched'."

Irish Independent

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