Hospital apologises over death of woman (72) following failings in care

Hospital Apologises Over Death Of Woman (72) Following Failings In Care
The woman's family described the health service as "a shambles and a disgrace".
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High Court reporters

A hospital has apologised over failings in care for a 72-year-old woman who died 11 days after she was admitted suffering from shortness of breath and weakness.

Mother of seven Ann Moyles, from Castlehill, Ballina, Co Mayo, died on December 30th, 2017, over what her son, Tom Moyles, alleged were numerous failings in the care given to his mother after she was admitted to Mayo University Hospital in Castlebar on December 19th.


Mr Moyles and the rest of the family were particularly upset that she spent 20 hours on a trolley in the hospital's Emergency Deparment (ED) due to a shortage of beds, the court heard.

In a statement after the case, the family said when her son Anthony arrived the next day to find her still on a trolley in a shared cubicle, allegedly gasping for breath, he was told there was no doctor available.

Only after he insisted that a doctor be sent for "did care seem to kick into place", they further alleged.

Mr Moyles settled the family's action for damages against the HSE for negligence and breach of duty over Mrs Moyles' death, and an apology was read out in court on behalf of Mayo University Hospital on Wednesday.


Hospital manager Catherine Donohue said the hospital offered sincere and heartfelt apologies to the Moyles family for failings in care while Mrs Moyles was an in-patient in December 2017.

"I appreciate this apology will not change the outcome for your late mother and your family and for this we are deeply sorry", Ms Donohoe wrote.

Hospital admission

Outlining the background of the case on behalf of the family, Gerard Clarke SC, instructed by David O'Malley of Callan Tansey Solicitors, said Mrs Moyles was suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and the day after she was admitted she was intubated.

Counsel said the fact that she was on a trolley for 20 hours before she was transferred to ICU was a source of particular annoyance to the family.


While their expert would say that she received appropriate medical treatment while on the trolley, she was extubated on December 23rd, but due to her condition she should have been reintubated.

The family's expert would also say the way she was treated led directly to her death, counsel said.

Mr Justice Paul Coffey approved the distribution of the €35,000 statutory payment for distress equally among the eight members of the family, from which provision is to be made for her eight grandchildren.

He extended his deepest sympathy to the members of the family who were present in court.


In their statement after the case, the family said their mother never came home that Christmas due to circumstances for which they have never received answers.

"As a family, the reason we are here today highlighting this case is to shine a light on the disgrace that our hospital and hospitals around the country are in,” they said.

“Our health care service is a shambles and a disgrace. The amount of horror stories every day is not acceptable.”

They added it was unacceptable to not be able to get a doctor in the ED, or a bed, nor was to acceptable that a patient would be left on a trolley in a critical condition gasping for air and to be ignored.

“The sad part of all this is it's all too common. This case has been going on for six years and nothing is changing,” the family said.

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