‘He was isolated and in terrible pain’

PETER McKENNA died of septicaemia just 12 days after being admitted to Leas Cross nursing home in Swords, Co Dublin.

His half-brother, Dan Moore, believes Peter’s blood poisoning resulted from an infection that had developed after a urinary catheter was inserted.

Dan said that Peter, who was the child of his mother’s first marriage, had Down syndrome and later developed Alzheimer’s disease.

“Peter did not have any communication skills and he was put in a room in Leas Cross with a bell. God love him, the lad did not have the sense to ring the bell when he was dying. He was isolated and in terrible pain.”

Before being moved to the nursing home, Peter was a resident in St Michael’s House on Dublin’s northside for about six years and had been very happy there.

“They gave him a new lease of life,” said Dan. Peter developed Alzheimer’s disease when he was. Both Dan and his sister Mary Moore had hoped Peter would end his days in a nursing home also run by St Michael’s.

Then, out of the blue, they got a phone call from St Michael’s informing them that they planned moving Peter to Leas Cross.

Both Dan and Mary travelled to Leas Cross to see if it was suitable. When they arrived they saw residents in an undressed state outside their rooms. The presentation of the home also left a lot to be desired. “I would only give it two out of 10,” said Dan.

They went back to St Michael’s House and said the place was unsuitable for Peter and asked if he could go somewhere else.

“There was no give in them at all. They said Peter would have to go to Leas Cross and if he did not go there we could pick out a place for him and pay for it ourselves,” Dan recalled.

In an attempt to delay things, Dan pointed out that Peter was a ward of court and any material change to his life would have to be approved by the High Court.

Within two weeks they had us in the High Court and brought in a team of clinicians. They swore that they had no complaints about Leas Cross and Peter was sent there,” said Dan.

Peter was just 12 days in the home when he was taken by ambulance to Beaumont Hospital.

Peter died within two hours of reaching the hospital.

Afterwards, Dan was horrified to see that his legs from the waist down were, as he put it, “black as coal.”

Dan is still awaiting a report on his brother’s death from the Health Service Executive (HSE).

On the first anniversary of Peter’s death, Dan wrote to the then Eastern Regional Health Authority and to former Health Minister Micheál Martin calling for his death to be investigated.

“I got a terse reply back saying they were going to have Peter’s case looked into.

“Four years later I’ve got nothing.”

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