Family’s anguish as body is ‘lost’ at Limerick hospital

David Hurley

Reporter:

David Hurley

Joe Connery (65) from Dalcassian Park, Ennis, Co Clare who died at the Mid Westen Regional Hospital on December 29, 2012 after falling down the stairs of his home.
A CORONER has told the family of a man who died last Christmas to contact management at the Mid Western Regional Hospital after they claimed his body was “lost” following his death.

A CORONER has told the family of a man who died last Christmas to contact management at the Mid Western Regional Hospital after they claimed his body was “lost” following his death.

Joseph Connery, 65, who was originally from Garrryowen, sustained serious head injuries on December 27, last after he fell down the stairs of his home in Ennis.

Limerick Coroners Court was told that Mr Connery, who died a number of days afterwards, had donated some of his organs but that when members of his family contacted the hospital after the transplant procedure, there was confusion as to where his body was.

Coroner Dr Timothy Casey told the family to raise their concerns with hospital management.

“You should write to the management of the hospital and explain how you feel,” he said adding that “lessons might be learned”.

Speaking after the inquest, Joe Connery’s widow, Mary, said the saga was very upsetting for her and her family.

She said after her husband’s life support machine was switched off, they were informed the procedure to remove his organs would take around 10 hours and that they would be contacted once it was completed.

However, they were not contacted and had to phone the hospital themselves the following afternoon.

“When I eventually rang intensive care, the nurse there was shocked and she thought I was gone off my head,” said Mary who added that the nurse she spoke to did not know where her husband’s body was.

“Nobody seemed to know where he was and I remember saying to the nurse, ‘Did ye lose him or something?’” she explained.

Subsequently, the family were contacted and told to come to the morgue to formally identify the body before it could be removed.

“When we went back, I didn’t expect to see what I saw and I just lost it because he was on his own,” she said.

Joe Connery’s daughter, Triana, said the whole experience was a “traumatic” ordeal for the family.

“Throughout the whole process we were not kept informed correctly,” she said.