Probe into how woman (88) was let die on trolley

University Hospital Galway.
University Hospital Galway.

The tragic case of an 88-year-old woman who died on a trolley while waiting for treatment at the Emergency Department of University Hospital Galway (UHG), is the subject of an independent, external review.

Saolta, the group that runs UHG, confirmed an emergency department consultant based in Dublin has been hired to carry out a review into the circumstances of the case – first revealed in the Galway City Tribune in September.

Ann Cosgrove, Chief Operating Officer at Saolta, said the consultant will meet the family of the deceased pensioner, as part of the external review.

She could not give a timeframe as to when the review would be completed but said that it is ongoing and could take “a number of months”.

She said Saolta and the National Ambulance Service have offered the family their deepest sympathies, and they will be communicating directly with them in relation to the review process.

Ms Cosgrove was responding to queries from City Councillor Pádraig Conneely, who had asked for an explanation about the circumstances that led to the death.

Cllr Conneely said the 88-years-old woman was taken by ambulance to the Emergency Department of UHG.

“She was left for four hours on an ambulance trolley – not a hospital trolley, an ambulance trolley. She was left on the ambulance trolley for four hours in the public area of the Emergency Department – not inside in the hospital area but in the public area.

“How could it be that an elderly patient is left to die in the public area of the Emergency Department, where 60 or 70 members of the public were coming and going?”

Cllr Conneely was angry with how he had to table a question at the Forum meeting in order to get any information about the incident for the family.

He said management “treat us (councillors) with contempt.”

For more on this story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune