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Cancer patient dies after drugs reaction

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A 47-year-old mother, who was battling cancer, died when her various prescribed drugs reacted with one another causing her to stop breathing, an Inquest into her death heard.

Coroner for West Galway, Dr Ciaran MacLoughlin, explained that the death was unintentional, but that taking those medications together carried an inherent risk.

“She died of respiratory depression, from a combination of prescribed drugs, but not an overdose… The combination of drugs interfered with her ability to breathe,” he said.

Sandra Hardwick, of Cuirt Uisce, Doughiska, was last seen alive by a friend on the afternoon of March 24 last.

Pamela Mackey told the inquiry that her friend was in good form, and had planned to get a prescription filled in her local pharmacy. That same evening, she was unable to get back into the apartment, and there was no response from her friend’s phone.

The next morning she went back again, and nothing seemed to have changed. She contacted Ms Hardwick’s GP in Salthill, and a resettlement worker from Cope homeless services, to see if they had heard from her.

She said that her friend had been a heroin addict in the past, but was on methadone and had been doing well. However, three weeks previously, she had been diagnosed with cancer and was facing a major operation in April. Her dose was increased.

Sylvia Cloche of Cope responded to Ms Mackey’s concerned call, and when she could not gain entry to the apartment, she contacted the Gardaí. They forced their way in, and found Ms Hardwick lying face down on the floor in the living room area, as if she had rolled off the couch. There was no evidence of foul play.

The Inquest heard that she had not filled a prescription since March 18, so there had been no extra drugs obtained in advance of her death.

A post mortem examination was carried out by Consultant pathologist, Dr Stephanie Curran, who stated that Ms Hardwick had had an extensive past medical history, including Type 2 diabetes, previous hepatitis infection, and an ovarian cyst.

She was found to have a high-grade malignant tumour in her uterus, and a secondary tumour in her lungs.

“She was seriously ill,” the Coroner explained, as he read the pathologist’s findings into the record.

“She would have had a very stormy passage ahead during the course of that treatment.”

He added that there were no anatomical findings to explain her death, but described the interpretation of the toxicology findings as “complex”.

He said that she was on pain killers, and drugs for anxiety, sleep, and depression. The latter was in the upper limit of the therapeutic range. A fifth drug was also to help with sleeping, it was also below the toxic range.

“That would not kill her on its own,” he said.

“But when drugs are taken together, it accelerates the effect of the others, and depresses the person’s respiration…. Cardiac arrest was almost certainly caused by a combination of several drugs.

“It would appear that it was not intentional, but she was obviously very upset and had to raise her methadone, and the combination of drugs interfered with her ability to breathe.”

He returned a verdict, in accordance with the medical evidence, that death was due to the synergistic effect of prescribed drugs, and the sarcoma of her uterus, with lung metastases, and misadventure.

Dr MacLoughlin offered his sincere sympathies to Ms Hardwick’s friends, to the staff at Cope, and to her children who were being cared for by a foster mother and their grandmother.

CITY TRIBUNE

‘Horrific’ conditions at ‘temporary’ halting site

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Mould and damp around the shower, toilet and sink area in one of the units at the Carrowbrowne temporary halting site beside the Headford Road.
Mould and damp around the shower, toilet and sink area in one of the units at the Carrowbrowne temporary halting site beside the Headford Road. [File pic]

Living conditions at Carrowbrowne ‘temporary’ halting site on the Headford Road are “truly dreadful” and “distressing”, according to four University of Galway academics.

The quartet, who visited the halting site earlier this month, called on the authorities to provide “decent and culturally appropriate accommodation” for the 13 families living at the ‘temporary’ site, “as a matter of urgency”.

The call comes in the same week a former city mayor was sharply criticised for promoting ‘anti-Traveller rhetoric’.

Galway Traveller Movement urged Fianna Fáil to suspend City Councillor Michael John Crowe, pending a full investigation into comments he made in a press statement issued on Monday and repeated on local radio, about Galway City Council buying a house in Renmore for Traveller accommodation.

As that controversy raged on social media this week, Dr John Cunningham, Director of MA History, University of Galway, said he was shocked by the “scandalous” conditions he saw at Carrowbrowne ‘temporary’ halting site.

“I was at an event on campus earlier this year where President Michael D (Higgins) gave a speech and specifically denounced conditions in Carrowbrowne and he would know some of the families, who lived in the Westside area.

“So, I was aware of the circumstances but faced with the actual reality of it was just utterly shocking,” Dr Cunningham told the Galway City Tribune.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Kissing goodbye to hated gates under pilot project

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It was agreed to start the project with the gates in the Claddagh and Terryland Forest Park.

Kissing gates at South Park and Terryland Forest Park will be removed in a pilot project to assess their impact on public spaces.

Galway City Council has agreed to trial the removal or replacement of kissing gates in the city on a case-by-case basis while waiting for the completion of an audit that will be used to develop a policy on the controversial barriers at Wednesday’s Recreation and Amenity Strategic Policy Committee (SPC) meeting.

The follows anger among the cycling community that the one in South Park had been removed to facilitate a private company fun run only to be returned days later as reported in last week’s Galway City Tribune.

Galway City East Councillor Owen Hanley, who attended the meeting, said it is still to be decided what barriers would be erected in their place and it would depend on the needs of the location.

“Previously I worked with Council staff on the Terryland Forest Park kissing gate along the cyclebus route and we agreed to use chicanes to slow but not stop users,” he revealed.

“Whatever goes in will allow cyclists and wheelchair users to pass. We have been given no timelines but it will be in the short-term and I will be following up on this.”

He said the Council has been discussing how to handle kissing gates since he was elected as a Social Democrat over three years ago.

“The rare instances where mopeds or motorbikes damage our green spaces does not justify the widespread use of kissing gates, in fact many times, kissing gates don’t even stop this behaviour. Kissing gates present a very real barrier to people who use wheelchairs or buggies, or cycle, preventing them for accessing public parks as well as routes to work and school.”

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Abuse and violence towards LGBT+ people is ‘massively under-reported’

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Fiona McDonagh-Delaney, Project Co-ordinator and Tiernan Arnup, Administration and Communications, Amach LGBT+, Westside Recource Centre. PHOTO: BRIAN HARDING.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT+) people in Galway continue to suffer verbal abuse, violence, and threats of violence while socialising in the city, according to advocates.

Amach, which supports the local LGBT+ community, said that homophobia and hate crimes persist despite recent legislative gains and societal change in Ireland in recent years.

A new report by An Garda Síochána highlighted that just 17 ‘hate-related incidents’ were recorded in the Galway Garda Division in 2021.

That includes hate crimes and hate-related, non-crime incidents recorded across nine discriminatory motives including age, disability, race, colour, nationality, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, and gender.

But Fiona McDonagh-Delaney, project co-coordinator at Amach in the Westside Community Centre, said it was an “incredibly low figure”, that showed “massive under-reporting”.

LGBT+ Ireland reported a four-fold increase in calls to its helpline last year of people experiencing hate crime, based on their LGBT+ status, she said.

Ms McDonagh-Delaney said that was the reality on Galway’s streets too, even if the official Garda figures did not reflect that.

She said there was a “sense of normalisation” of threats of violence and violence itself, based on LGBT+ status. This had become “commonplace” in Galway and LGBT+ people avoided certain areas at weekends because of it.

“We’d know ourselves that on a Friday and Saturday night, you don’t go up around Eyre Square on a night out. You know what areas to avoid because you know you are at high risk of experiencing some form of abuse. Whether it’s verbal abuse, the threat of violence or actual violence,” she said.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

 

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