Team to investigate elderly woman's hospital death

An investigation team was established today to examine the circumstances surrounding the death of an elderly woman at a mental health facility in north Cork.

An investigation team was established today to examine the circumstances surrounding the death of an elderly woman at a mental health facility in north Cork.

Health service bosses confirmed three people would look into the death of Hannah Comber, 65, at Heatherside Hospital, Co Cork on June 22 last.

The investigation follows claims Ms Comber choked to death while strapped to a chair at the hospital.

A spokeswoman for the Health Service Executive (HSE) said: “The investigation team will have access to all files, records and expertise as required.

“The definitive timeframe for the completion of this review is a matter for the team to decide, however, the report will be completed at the earliest possible opportunity.”

Gardaí have confirmed a file would be prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions on Ms Comber’s death.

Ms Comber had been in care for more than 30 years.

The investigation team members include Tom O’Dwyer, former programme manager and deputy chief executive with the health service; Dr Caitriona Crowe, a consultant in old age psychiatry with the South Tipperary Mental Health Service and PJ Lawlor, director of nursing with Laois/Offaly Mental Health Service.

The investigation committee will review the existing protocols and procedures for the delivery of services at the facility, and the delivery of these services to the deceased.

It will review the scope, range and level of services provided by the HSE to Ms Comber.

The three-member team have been tasked with examining anything relevant to Ms Comber’s death, and to establish the facts of her death.

At its conclusion, the committee will furnish their findings in a report to the Assistant National Director of the HSE.

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