In News

A young mother passed away following a “systems failure” in her care while she was an inpatient at University Hospital Limerick. The UL Hospitals Group issued an unreserved apology to the family of the young woman who died in UHL eight days after she presented there with a low white blood cell count, sore throat and high temperature. The Doctors caring for the woman requested an “urgent” scan of the woman’s abdomen and pelvis after she complained of severe pain in her chest. However, this was not followed up on. Coroner John McNamara said it appeared that “a conflict” between clinicians working on the frontline of the hospital and “capacity and access issues” were “at the heart” of the woman’s tragic death. He said if a CT scan had been performed on her earlier, “it would have without any shadow of a doubt changed the trajectory of her treatment and eradicated doctors’ concerns about (a lung blood clot)”. The coroner went on to say that it appeared that “without a CT scan” doctors were “fighting with one hand tied behind their backs”. The Coroner concluded that there was no evidence of any wrongdoing by any members of the woman’s care team.

Eleven recommendations were made following an internal review by the hospital group, but these have yet to be implemented. One of the recommendations made was that doctors in America were using handheld “bedside” scans to fastrack diagnosis in their patients and that this technology should be used more often in UHL and other Irish hospitals.