Go home and take an overdose, suicidal woman advised


New disturbing information has emerged about a 47-year-old suicidal woman with special needs who was repeatedly refused admission from University Hospital Galway last month.

It has been claimed that the distressed Galway woman experiencing suicidal ideation was told by a member of medical staff at the hospital that she should take an overdose and then she would be admitted to the psychiatric unit.

The claim was made by Galway City Councillor Pádraig Conneely (FG), who said it was an “absolute disgrace” and “appalling” how this woman with mental health issues was treated by UHG.

He said he has two witnesses who can verify that the woman was told by a member of staff at UHG to “go home and take an overdose” in order to get admitted to the Psychiatric unit via the Emergency Department.

John Hayes, HSE Chief Officer, North Western Area, said he would not comment on individual cases but he said it would be “extremely concerning and serious” if true. He said the issue should be raised with the executive clinical director at the hospital.

At the HSE West Regional Health Forum, Cllr Conneely described in detail the “very sad and serious incident” which was first highlighted in this newspaper in May.

The woman, he said, who was in “serious danger and having suicidal thoughts” presented at UHG but was not admitted.

She subsequently attempted suicide by jumping into the sea at Salthill but was rescued and brought by Galway Gardaí to ED. She was again not admitted, despite pleading with staff.

Cllr Conneely claimed that security staff at UHG had threatened to remove the woman form the premises along with her 84-year-old mother and counsellor who accompanied her to the hospital.

It was then, Cllr Conneely claims she was told to go home and take an overdose. The woman subsequently left and overdosed on her own medication.

See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune.