Inquest hears asylum seeker forced to take bus from Cork to Dublin for treatment in last weeks of life

Kinsale Road Accommodation Centre

An asylum seeker with a heart condition who was unable to walk 200 metres without extreme breathlessness spent his last few weeks of life in extreme distress as he had to take repeated trips by bus from Cork to Dublin for medical treatment, his widow has claimed at his inquest.

The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said that her 46-year-old husband was treated at the Mater Hospital in Dublin when the pair first arrived in Ireland in January 2017.

The Algerian couple were initially based at the Baleseskin Reception centre in Dublin.

The woman told Cork Coroner's Court that her husband had received medical attention at Connolly and the Mater Hospitals from January to June 2017.

The man, who had a defibrillator implant, was rushed by ambulance to both hospitals for breathlessness during that period and was advised to attend follow up appointments at the arrhythmia clinic in the Mater.

The couple were transferred to the Kinsale Road Accommodation Centre in Cork in June 2017 in spite of their concerns about being so far away from the Mater.

The man was rushed by ambulance from the Cork centre to Cork University Hospital (CUH) on two occasions from June to his death in August 2017.

His widow said her husband suffered hugely as a result of having to travel to Dublin for several scheduled medical and asylum appointments in Dublin.

She stated she was "extremely traumatised as a result of the manner in which her husband died".

"My husband died just nine weeks after his transfer took place and his last weeks were categorised by stress, anxiety and acute illness as a result of his transfer.

"He was forced to spending extensive periods travelling on buses when he should have been resting."

The man died on August 12 2017 at CUH.

An incision procedure had been carried out onsite to remove fluid from his heart after he presented at A and E feeling ill.

His care had not been transferred formally from the Mater to CUH and no notes had been forwarded.

However, staff at CUH said he received the best possible care

The widow of the deceased said the day after his death she was transferred back to Dublin.

Linda Keating, Assistant Principal Officer at RIA, told the inquest that services at CUH were equivalent to those on offer at the Mater.

She said the man had been assessed by the HSE medical team prior to his transfer to Cork.

She acknowledged that they had received a transfer request prior to his death.

She stated that the couple received overnight accommodation when they went to Dublin for appointments.

Breda Keane, manager of the Kinsale Road accommodation centre, said the widow of the deceased had been extremely distressed about his placement in Cork and that a transfer application had been made for their return to Dublin.

Assistant State Pathologist, Dr Margaret Bolster, said that the man died from the cardiac disease ARVD.

The congestive heart failure was due to his condition associated with pericarditis, haemorrhage or bleeding due to sepsis and an infection from his defibrillator.

Ciaran Lewis, SC, representing the widow said that no consideration was given to accommodating the man in any centre outside of Cork.

He stressed that staff at the Mater were fully cognisant of the medical history in the case and that there was no transfer of notes.

The jury recorded a verdict of natural causes.

They recommended that asylum seekers with medical complaints be furnished with the relevant medical information when being transferred to a different centre.

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