Coroner says hospitals must liaise

A CORONER and a jury yesterday recommended that hospitals should “liaise better” when patients were moved from one hospital to another.

Coroner Helen Lucey presided at an inquest in Tralee into the death of an 85-year-old man which heard how MRSA had first been recorded as the cause of death.

But after patient files from the hospital to which he had been transferred were consulted, it was discovered that he had died of a heart attack and the MRSA had cleared.

The jury returned a verdict in accordance with the medical evidence in the case of Edmond Whyte, of Rae Street, Tralee, who died at Kerry General Hospital, on January 27, 2007, but added there should be better communication between hospitals when patients were transferred.

Ms Lucey said she hoped Mr Whyte’s death would result in hospitals synchronising their records so as to have a complete picture available.

She said Dr Tom Higgins, of Kerry General Hospital, Tralee, who earlier gave evidence at the inquest that he wished to change the cause of death, had been very forthright and there was no question of obfuscation.

Dr Higgins said Mr Whyte, a kidney dialysis patient was transferred to Cork University Hospital, on January 13, suffering from MRSA/septicemia and suffered a cardiac arrest there on January 14. Tests carried out there showed the infection had cleared and he was sent back to Kerry General but died on January 27.

Dr Higgins said he registered his death on that date giving primary cause as MRSA septicemia but had since discovered the man had recovered from the MRSA infection.


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