Emergency motion to be raised in connection with sexual assault of 17-year-old CUH patient

Emergency motion to be raised in connection with sexual assault of 17-year-old CUH patient
Cork university Hospital.

An emergency motion is to be raised at the next Regional Health Forum in connection with the sexual assault of a 17-year-old patient at CUH.

Member Ted Tynan wants Cork University Hospital chiefs to explain what they have done to make sure this doesn’t happen again.

So far they have only said that they have conducted a review of “admissions protocols”.

But Councillor Tynan said that so far, the response from the hospital has been “entirely unsatisfactory”.

“All they have said is that they have conducted a review of admissions protocols,” he said.

“But they haven’t said what the results of that review are and they haven’t explained what they have done or are doing to make sure this type of horrific incident doesn’t happen again.

It really is unacceptable that the hospital has not made more of an account of itself in relation to this incident.

The Cork City Council councillor added: “People need to know that their daughters are safe at this hospital.”

Cllr Tynan, of the Workers Party, was speaking after CUH issued a very brief statement following the conviction of a 62-year-old man for sexually assaulting the teenager in the bed beside him.

Andrew O’Donovan, from Butlersgift, Drimoleague, County Cork, was given an 18-month suspended jail term on Tuesday for sexually assaulting the girl.

He has a diagnosed schizophrenic condition and had been attending mental health services since the 1980s for anxiety, agitation, euphoria and insomnia.

Yet he was placed beside the young girl, who was recovering from serious injuries when he started sexually assaulting her.

Her injuries were so bad she was due to stay in hospital for six weeks, but instead and because of the sexual assault, left after just 11 days.

Because of her physical injuries at the time, she could not reach the call button over her head.

And staff were only alerted to what was going on when the man’s heart monitor set off an alarm that his heart rate was rising and they thought he was having a heart attack.

Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin questioned how it was that a vulnerable and incapacitated young girl was placed in a ward with O’Donovan.

"You have to question in circumstances like this what management was doing,” said the judge in his summing up.

You have to question the management of the ward system. There appears to be no system of management or supervision.

“You have to question the placing of these patients in this ward together.”

To date, CUH has refused to say when it conducted the review, who carried it out and what action it has taken since the review.

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