Man’s body remains in Limerick morgue 18 months after sudden death at fast food outlet

Fintan Walsh

Reporter:

Fintan Walsh

The Romanian national was found dead at McDonald’s on Cruises Street on March 3, 2017

The Romanian national was found dead at McDonald’s on Cruises Street on March 3, 2017

THE BODY of a Romanian national, who died from a heroin overdose in a fast food restaurant in the city, has remained at a Limerick morgue for 18 months due to “expensive” repatriation costs, an inquest has heard.

Petru Lascarache, aged 36, of no fixed abode, was found unresponsive by staff members in a toilet cubicle in McDonald’s on Cruises Street on the afternoon of Friday, March 3, 2017.

Addressing the coroner’s court on Catherine Street this Tuesday, Insp Helen Costelloe, of Henry Street garda station, read depositions by witnesses—staff, management and paramedics—who were at the scene of the sudden death.

At 3pm, Larysa Troka informed her work colleague Shane Simmons that a male was in the upstairs toilet for some time.  Mr Simmons said that when the cubicle door was opened, he saw the male “slumped over the toilet on the floor”, and that there was no response from him.

He then informed shift manager Anne Marie Naughton, before searching for a defibrillator at a number of retail outlets nearby, securing one at Arthur’s Quay shopping centre. As emergency services were alerted to the scene, Ms Naughton checked for breath and pulse.

“At that time, I didn’t get a pulse,” she said, adding that she knew “that the man had gone into cardiac arrest”.

Business manager Violeta Karbauskaite said the man’s clothes were cut as they prepared the defibrillator, which said “shock not advised”. CPR was carried out at the scene by staff, the court heard.

Paramedics Mary O’Brien and Sharon Hayes, attached to the Dooradoyle station, attended the scene. Ms O’Brien said that there were “no signs of life” upon examination. Advanced life support was administered, but there were no signs of improvement, she said. She added that drug paraphernalia was on the man’s person and there were signs of drug use on his body.  

Dr Anne-Marie Dineen, who pronounced Mr Lascarache dead  at 5.30pm, said there were marks on his body that “suggested intravenous drug use”.

Gda Thomas Casey, of Henry Street garda station, said he was on patrol when he was called to the scene at 4.43pm. He told the court that the deceased was identified by his fingerprints through Interpol, and that his body remains at the morgue at UHL.

Coroner John McNamara said that he understood contact was made with the Romanian Embassy, and that the family was “in no position” to repatriate the body, adding “it can be quite an expensive process”.

Mr McNamara said that he would be making contact with authorities to arrange a burial for Mr Lascarache.

Pathologist Dr Gabor Laskai said that the cause of death was heroin overdose. Returning a verdict of misadventure, Mr McNamara said it was an “unintended outcome of the circumstances” and that “it would appear he had suffered with drug problems”.

Mr McNamara commended the McDonald’s staff for their efforts and expressed his condolences to the family of Mr Lascarache.