Mentally ill man choked himself to death

A MAN with a profound intellectual disability, who had developed a habit of self-strangulation over the course of his life, died from asphyxia arising from the habit.

Stephen Brennan, 55, a patient at Stuart’s Hospital, Palmerstown for 40 years of his life, died at James Connolly Hospital, Blanchardstown on March 13 of this year.

An inquest at Dublin County Coroner’s Court yesterday heard Mr Brennan had developed the habit of putting his hands up to his neck and choking himself. He was checked by staff for this behaviour on two occasions in the early hours of the day he died.

When Mr Brennan was found to be in distress, he was removed to Blanchardstown hospital where he was pronounced dead at 5.30am.

A postmortem examination confirmed that Mr Brennan died from asphyxia due to neck compression with laryngeal stenosis as a contributory cause.

The inquest heard that Mr Brennan had developed the problem with his larynx due to his repeated attempts at self-strangulation over time.

But the court heard that Mr Brennan, who was unable to talk, was unaware he was doing himself harm.

Coroner Dr Kieran Geraghty returned a verdict of accidental death.

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