11/08/2009

HSE Seeks Legal Advice Over Elderly Death

The Health Service Executive is to seek legal advice after the publication of a report into the death of an elderly woman at a geriatric psychiatric hospital in Co Cork in June 2006.

Hannah Comber, 75, from Ballyhea, Charleville, choked after getting caught in a restraining belt on a chair at Heatherside Hospital in north Cork.

The HSE appointed an independent inquiry team under former Midland Health Board Chief Officer Pat Gaughan and it spent almost three years investigating Ms Comber's death.

“The HSE has sought legal advice on the report of the independent inquiry team into Ms Comber’s death at Heatherside Hospital and this is currently under consideration,” said a HSE South spokeswoman.

It is not yet clear whether the report on the death of Ms Comber will be published.

Hospital staff reported the death of Ms Comber, who had schizophrenia and had been a patient at Heatherside for 35 years, as having "passed away". After an autopsy, it emerged that she had died from asphyxia after getting caught in the chair restraint.

(DW/KMcA)


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