Man’s death directly related to alcohol abuse

THE DEATH of a man days after he was admitted to hospital with a nosebleed was directly linked to his abuse of alcohol, an inquest heard yesterday.

Tom O’Connor, aged 63, with an address at 1 Parkowen, off Quaker Road in Cork, died in the Mercy University Hospital from multiple organ failure 18 days after he was admitted to hospital with a nosebleed.

But that minor complaint was the first sign that his liver wasn’t working properly, Cork Coroner’s Court heard.

Mr O’Connor, a single man who had been drinking since he was 14, was admitted to the South Infirmary on January 2 with a nosebleed.

He was subsequently transferred to the Mercy University Hospital, where he died on January 20.

His rapid deterioration and death required a post mortem be carried out.

Assistant State Pathologist, Dr Margaret Bolster, carried out the examination at Cork University Hospital and found that Mr O’Connor had extensive cirrhosis of the liver. He also had pneumonia and heart disease.

She recorded the cause of death as total organ failure related to alcohol-related end-state cirrhosis.

City coroner Myra Cullinane said the nosebleed Mr O’Connor suffered on January 2 would have been the first sign his liver was beginning to malfunction.

The badly damaged liver would have affected his body’s ability to clot blood, she said, resulting in the nosebleed.

“His liver was functioning very poorly. It is the most important organ for keeping the body’s organs working,” Ms Cullinane said.

The damage to the liver would also have had a knock-on effect on Mr O’Connor’s other organs, which then began to shut down, the inquest heard.

Having looked at all the evidence, Ms Cullinane said the only verdict open to her was to record a verdict of death by misadventure — the unintended outcome of an intended action.

She expressed her sympathy to members of the O’Connor family.

In a separate inquest, the court heard evidence surrounding the death of Joseph Geary, aged 48, whose body was recovered from the river Lee, near Kennedy Quay, on the morning of June 3, 2005.

A post-mortem examination found that Mr Geary, with an address at 28, Lower Cork Street, Mitchelstown, Co Cork, but who had been living on and off at St Vincent’s Hostel in the city since 2001, had 289 milligrammes per centilitre of alcohol in his blood.

“I have no evidence he entered the river on purpose,” Ms Cullinane said.

She recorded a verdict of death by misadventure.

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