The Coroner for Mayo yesterday returned a verdict of misadventure in the death of a 48-year- old woman who died at Mayo University Hospital in October 2016, after being treated for severe back pain.
Coroner Patrick O’Connor returned the misadventure verdict in the case of Ann Marie O’Brien, a mother of four, from Windsor, Castlebar.
Ms. O’Brien attended Mayo University Hospital on two separate occasions in the week before she died, complaining of back pain. She was not admitted on either occasion and was sent home with painkillers.
At yesterday's inquest and a previous hearing, it was outlined that Ms.O’Brien had a history of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and other conditions including ischaemic disease.
Damian Tansey, solicitor for the O’Brien family, said the hospital knew the deceased had been “screaming with pain” but the hospital decided to discharge her without treating her for medical rather than an orthopaedic condition.
After being admitted to hospital by ambulance on October 2, 2016, Ms. O’Brien suffered a fatal cardiac arrest.
Family members gave evidence to yesterday’s hearing that Ms. O’Brien was ‘in agony’ when admitted to hospital on September 29, 2016.
Her only daughter Laura O'Brien described the way her mother was treated at the hospital as “appalling”, and said the last few days that she had with her mother will stay with her for the rest of her life.
Dr. Omotunde Sanni, locum registrar in emergency medicine at MUH, told the inquest that his feelings were that painkillers were the appropriate treatment for Ms. O’Brien’s back pain.
At 4.30 a.m. he said, he had a conversation with Ms O’Brien while she was in a wheelchair in a corridor. He repeated to her that she had to attend her GP for a referral to an orthopaedic clinic.
After the coroner returned a verdict of misadventure, Ms Sasha Louise Gayer, senior counsel for the HSE read an ‘unreserved apology’ from the Saolta Hospital Group to Laura O’Brien expressing ‘deepest regret and sadness” for the way her mother had been treated.
High Court proceedings have been issued by legal representatives for the O’Brien family against the Saolta Hospital Group for the manner in which their relative was treated.