Coro­ner’sshockat phone call telling of woman’s death

Belfast Telegraph - - NEWS - BY DONNA DEENEY

A CORO­NER has voiced his shock at how the fam­ily of an 83-year-old Lon­don­derry woman were led to ex­pect that she would be dis­charged from hos­pi­tal — but in­stead re­ceived a call to say she was dead.

Coro­ner Pa­trick McGur­gan made his com­ments dur­ing the in­quest into the death of Brigid Ca­vanagh of Foyle Park in Derry on July 20, 2016.

Mrs Ca­vanagh had been ad­mit­ted to Alt­nagelvin hos­pi­tal af­ter she fell at home on July 15, 2016. She was found ly­ing on the floor be­side her hos­pi­tal bed at 5.30am on July 20 where she had passed away.

Among the med­i­cal staff giv­ing ev­i­dence was Jane Bara­nowski, a nurse on the acute med­i­cal ward, who ad­mit­ted notes she took about Mrs Ca­vanagh’s ad­mis­sion there from A&E were “wrong”.

She said she “ticked every box wrong” in one of the as­sessCT ment forms, but also ad­mit­ted she wrote a sec­ond as­sess­ment which con­tra­dicted much of what was on the first. Dur­ing a han­dover meet­ing when Mrs Ca­vanagh was trans­ferred to Ward 42, she failed to no­tice the dis­crep­an­cies in the two forms.

Ms Bara­nowski said her only ex­pla­na­tion was that the ward was “very busy”.

These er­rors fol­lowed ev­i­dence given on Mon­day that an X-ray of Mrs Ca­vanagh’s bro­ken fe­mur bone had not been read prop­erly.

Dr Ab­dul Hameed, Con­sul­tant Physi­cian in Acute Medicine, ad­mit­ted in court there was a lack of com­mu­ni­ca­tion with Mrs Ca­vanagh’s fam­ily.

While he was in the wit­ness box it tran­spired that there was no writ­ten doc­u­men­ta­tion of a multi-dis­ci­plinary meet­ing held about Mrs Ca­vanagh, dur­ing which her care plan was dis­cussed.

There was also no record of a dis­cus­sion about the pos­si­bil­ity of Mrs Ca­vanagh need­ing a scan be­cause she was com­plain­ing of ex­treme pain on her left side and could not put any weight on her right leg.

There was also no record of a men­tal health as­sess­ment ever be­ing made of Mrs Ca­vanagh, even though it was noted that she was “con­fused” at times.

Mr McGur­gan said if the fam­ily had been aware of all of the in­for­ma­tion — in­stead of be­ing told she was go­ing to be dis­charged on July 20 af­ter she re­ceived a blood trans­fu­sion — they might have opted to stay in hos­pi­tal with her that night.

He said: “One of the shock­ing things is that this fam­ily were ex­pect­ing their mother to be dis­charged, then they get a phone call to say she is dead.

“The op­por­tu­nity for them to have a dis­cus­sion about stay­ing with their mother was taken away from them.

“One of the things I have found as coro­ner with hos­pi­tal deaths is the lack of com­mu­ni­ca­tion with fam­i­lies.”

The in­quest con­tin­ues.

The sons and daugh­ters of Brigid Ca­vanagh (left) out­side Li­mavady Court where an in­quest into the death of their mother is tak­ing place. From left, Peter, Vin­cent, Paul, Sylvia, Thomas and Ellen Ca­vanagh

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.