Family settles trolley fall case

The family of an 82-year-old woman who died days after she fell off a trolley at St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin has settled a High Court action over her death.

Family settles trolley fall case

Letitia Lawlor died a week after she fell from the trolley three years ago, striking her head.

Counsel Doireann O’Mahony told the court that when Mrs Lawlor was transferred to the hospital’s emergency department three years ago after she fell at her nursing home, she was known to be at risk of falls.

Ms O’Mahony said this was a tragic fatal case and Mrs Lawlor was missed by her family: a son, a daughter, and four grandchildren.

Counsel said Mrs Lawlor, after her admission to St Vincent’s Hospital, Elm Park, Merrion Rd, in August 2013 had been on the trolley overnight and was reviewed by a consultant the next day.

Counsel said they would contend the side bars on the trolley had been lowered to allow Mrs Lawlor have lunch, and that she later fell from the trolley and suffered lacerations to her head.

A few days later, on August 22, 2013, Mrs Lawlor died. An autopsy revealed the cause of death was an acute or chronic subdural haematoma secondary to a fall. An inquest later returned a verdict of medical misadventure.

Yesterday, Mr Justice Kevin Cross in the High Court approved a settlement of €51,000 in the case.

Mrs Lawlor’s daughter Geraldine Eaton, of Fortrose Park, Tempelogue, Dublin, had sued St Vincent’s Healthcare Group Ltd as a result of the fall from a trolley at St Vincent’s Hospital.

It was claimed that Mrs Lawlor had suffered a fall on August 14, 2013, while a resident of a nursing home.

She had lacerations to the elbow, lip, and nose, and was taken to St Vincent’s emergency department and admitted for observation.

It was claimed that it was known Mrs Lawlor had suffered several other falls over a period of eight weeks prior to the fall of August 14 and was deemed to be at risk of more.

It was alleged that on August 15, 2013, while she remained unattended, she suffered an unwitnessed fall from the trolley where the trolley, it was alleged, had been left with the side bars lowered to allow Mrs Lawlor to feed.

Mrs Lawlor’s family, it was further claimed, had suffered significant distress, upset, and grief as a result of her untimely death and that she had played a central role in the lives of her daughter, son, and grandchildren, and had been a devoted mother and grandmother.

Outside court after the settlement was announced, Ms Eaton, Mrs Lawlor’s daughter, said they miss her very much.

“We miss her very much, and we hope that what happens to her does not happen in any other hospital. She was a very loving grandmother. She had four grandchildren and she doted on them and they all miss her, as we all do. Nothing can bring her back,” she said.

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